Resume Traps To Avoid When Job-Hunting

The best job-hunting advice is to have powerful friends who owe you favors, but the second-best may be to have a resume that doesn’t bury your chances at employment. While an excellent resume may not be able to land you a job, an awful one sure can take you out of the running.

Student Loan Info suggests some potential pitfalls that can sink your resume. Some of our favorites:

Posting your picture. Unless an employer specifically requests it, you’re only upping your potential DQ (douche quotient), coming off as vain.

Sending out a stock resume for all jobs. Since each job is different, it’s smarter to tailor your resume to the individual job and employer. Hiring agents can identify a lack of attention to detail.

Including a preferred salary. Some employers may ask for this, and if so, include it in your cover letter. If you give an unsolicited figure, you can either price yourself out of consideration or undersell yourself.

What are your favorite resume dos and don’ts?

Career Tips -Top 10 mistakes to avoid while creating resume [Student Loan Info]


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  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Don’t use WordPerfect/Microsoft Office resume templates. Hiring staff can spot them a mile away. :U

    • Steven Earhart says:

      Why does it matter? If the resume provides relevant information quickly to the reviewer, will I get docked for using Word?

      • Azzizzi says:

        Definitely. In a lot of jobs, I wouldn’t care what your résumé looks like as much as I would be concerned with the content.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        You won’t get docked for using Word, but you’ll get docked for having your resume look like every other one out there.

        I agree, .pdf or .rtf. Screw .doc and .docx.

        • samandiriel says:

          Hear, hear! I hate getting documents in whatever the Word format of the year is, requiring me to get a viewer or update. Three cheers for PDF!

          I wouldn’t send RTF myself – too much chance to have someone else editing my documents or accidentally deleting/inserting/whatever while reading them.

    • Gramin says:

      But it’s much better to use a template if you lack the skills to create a neat and organized resume. And, I doubt the hiring staff (which is generally your future manager/colleagues versus HR) can easily spot a Word template.

    • Mom says:

      Hiring staff actually doesn’t care, as long as it’s readable and attractive.

      • jebarringer says:

        “..and attractive”. Which is exactly why you don’t use standard templates.

      • danmac says:

        …and attractive

        This is why I print all my resumes on pink, scented papyrus and sprinkle them with glitter. They cost $7 to make, but I know it’s worth it!

        • Jimmy60 says:

          It may have changed but some years ago when I was having to sort through resumes I noticed that the ones that stood out were the rare ones printed on white paper.

          • Mom says:

            Nowadays, the only time it’s printed is when I print it myself to hold in my hand while interviewing the candidate. HR wouldn’t know what to do with a paper resume. Everything comes in electronically.

    • mac-phisto says:

      i would definitely agree with NOT using the MS word template, but for a different reason: making only minor adjustments to the template can result in severe brain hemorrhaging.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Yea, when I tried to update a resume I made with word, it just fell apart. I had to copy and paste into a fresh, NON-TEMPLATE document, and do my own formatting. Another reason to dislike MS products…

    • Moosehawk says:

      To respond to several posters that replied below, yes, using Office templates CAN hurt your chances with some employers. Here’s why:

      Using a common template will hurt your chances of standing out from the crowd. If an employer gets 400 resumes (I know for certain popular law enforcement jobs can get even more), which ones do you think they’re going to throw away first? Spelling mistakes, and bland resumes.

      Using a template shows an employer that you most likely didn’t put a lot of effort into your resume and that you take shortcuts before you’re even in the door. What does that say about your work ethic? Good resume builders will spend hours using styles to create a functional and aesthetic resume that stands out.

      Most templates don’t give you the chance to customize your resume and tailor it for the job you’re applying for. A very good and aesthetic resume template may have the options for education, work experience, skills and awards, but what if you’re an applications developer? What if you’re a teacher?

      Finally, if you use a template resume it’s very difficult or impossible to adjust the white spacing without breaking the template. In a customer resume, you can fix margins, change the pts between line spacing, or fix tabs.

      • mac-phisto says:

        i think it says more about the potential employer than it does about the potential employee if they throw out my resume b/c i used a template. you’re assuming an awful lot about a person if you think using a standard format shows lack of effort.

        i understand that HR might need to be a little creative to narrow a field of applicants to a manageable level, but assumptions like this are why i think the current “process” (if we dare call it that) is staggeringly inefficient & in major need of an overhaul.

      • pot_roast says:

        Except that the template shouldn’t matter, because I’ve found that most resumes are scanned into whatever HR system the company is using anyway, and formatting/etc goes right out the window. Seen this with more recruiters than I can shake a stick at and several different corporations.

    • msky says:


    • RandomHookup says:

      How about, “don’t use WordPerfect” or any other non-Microsoft format. Use .doc or .rft or make it into a pdf. If I can’t open it, I’m unlikely to let you know.

      I now recommend PDF for resumes as you can guarantee that the person on the other end is seeing exactly what you sent.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        I always send as .rtf, because it’s universal, or close to it. And .doc format changes every few years because MS wants you to pay for yet another copy of Word. (What’s that, the 5th copy since Word 7?)

        .pdf is a good choice too.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Or rtf…

  2. danmac says:

    I’ve reviewed a number of resumes for my department’s open positions, and I personally don’t like it when people include church group/other religious information.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      So what’s wrong with being part of an organization? Oh wait, that’s right, you’re another Christian hater? Nice to know that freedom in America is a free as you think. That’s called bigotry.

      • scratchie says:

        Wow, JW Pepper. With mind-reading skills like that, shouldn’t you be helping the police solve crimes instead of sitting around commenting on blogs?

      • Mom says:

        Oh, yes. Everyone knows that Christians are a persecuted minority. Sheesh.

        • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

          Is it necessary to be a member of a minority in order to be persecuted? Perhaps there are some Shiites in Iraq who’d like to have a word with you.

          • danmac says:

            Are you comparing the religious persecution of Christians in America to that of Shiites in Iraq? Perhaps there are some Shiites in Iraq who’d like to have a word with you. ;)

            • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

              No. I was making the case that persecution is not dependent upon the group being persecuted being in the minority. How you did not get that when it was written plainly in my question is something I cannot explain.

          • pythonspam says:

            I beleive you are confusing persecution and discrimination.
            Anyone can be discrimination against; Persecution requires a person or group of people with some kind of influence discriminating against the group in question.

            • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

              No confusion here. When Saddam was in power, he place minority Sunnis in power, and pushed out, harassed, disappeared, and generally made life suck for Shiites, who were the majority.

      • ARP says:

        ANOTHER Christain hater? Me thinks someone has been watching too much Fox News. Christians are not a persecuted minority, no matter what Beck, et. al. tell you. They’re by far the most dominant religion in our country.

        • 99 1/2 Days says:

          The poster mentioned nothing about being a persecuted minority. There are people that hate Christians, but in this case of course it’s a strawman.

      • mh83 says:

        Unless that organization is relevant to your job skills, the hiring manager doesn’t want to hear about it.

      • stock2mal says:

        I don’t think his post implied any of that. I, however, am another Christian hater. Please go kill yourself.

      • Shadowfire says:

        I’m hoping you’re trolling. In case you’re not:

        Disclosing religion puts the employer in an uncomfortable position. If they deny you employment, it can be said they discriminated based on your religion. It is completely irresponsible of an applicant to disclose any of the “do not ask these questions” information on their application (age, religion, sexual preference, family life, etc).

      • danmac says:

        Thanks for the ad hominem attack…I don’t usually get called a freedom-hating bigot until after lunch. I’m simply saying that people who are aggressively religious or political can make the workplace uncomfortable for their coworkers, and some people who review resumes are sensitive to that.

      • Polish Engineer says:

        There is nothing wrong with being part of an organization. It’s the relevancy to the matter at hand. In most instances, your religious life has nothing to do with your ability to perform the job you are applying for (exception: Hindus at burger joints).

        Religion is something you do on your free time, outside of work. I wouldn’t put on my resume that I am drummer and a hiker, because they don’t have any impact on my engineering profession.

        Some employers like to see well rounded individuals and may ask what you do in your free time in the interview. However, your resume should be tailored to the position you are applying for, and religion is applicable only in certain instances.

        • Buckus says:

          Well said. You should concentrate on what you bring to the employer that make you the best fit for the job position.

      • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

        I don’t see the words Christian mentioned anywhere in the OPs comment. Seems kind of ironic to accuse someone of bigotry while making the assumption that that the words “church” and “religious” only apply to Christians.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        You can take your self-righteous persecution syndrome and cram it up your Bible-hole, ugly.

        (There, now you have something legitimate to complain about.)

        • FrugalFreak says:

          He can’t stick it up there as you suggest, You are already up there waiting to come out with the next bowel movement.

    • ARP says:

      Well it gets dicey because then they can claim that you DQ’d or let them continue based on their religion. If it’s experience (e.g. they organized a church fundraiser) that speaks to their skills, I think that’s fine (and encouraged). If it’s thrown in there as a “look at me I’m a good person because I’m [Christain]” or “I’m one of you (wink wink) because I’m [Christian],” then I would be more wary.

      • danmac says:

        Yes, that’s what I’m talking about…if you worked for a church or participated in church-related activities that are relevant to the job advertised, by all means include it. If you list a separate “hobbies” section of your resume that makes three different references to your church group and faith, I don’t think you’re doing yourself any favors. You don’t know who will be reviewing your resume; if they’re a First Amendment-hating bigot like myself, it may negatively influence their opinion of your resume.

        • selianth says:

          There shouldn’t be a “Hobbies” section on a resume anyway. Extraneous information that the hiring manager doesn’t care one iota about. If there’s something relevant in there (which I doubt) it should go under an “Other Skills/Experience” heading.

          • danmac says:

            I completely agree…I made the original comment because it feels to me that people try to “shoehorn” their faith-based activities/affiliation into their resumes more than often than secular hobbies like – say – playing fantasy football.

    • slappysquirrel says:

      Yeah, I’m torn on this one because I’ve done tons of volunteer work for my church and they gave me an award. When I apply to someplace that seems non-profity and community-oriented, I might include this, but otherwise I don’t.

      • somegraphx says:

        My husband and I are in the same boat. We do a ton of work with our church that has a fairly large budget (bigger than some corps.). I try to camouflage the work by saying “not-for-profit organization” otherwise, I’d be missing out on some sweet marketing and training experience.

        A friend of mine who was an agnostic worked for a religious organization for years and never told them she was agnostic. However, I was unable, in good conscious, work for a conservative, GOP pro-life group. I couldn’t reconcile my pro-choice, Democratic beliefs.

    • reznicek111 says:

      Good point; unless you’re applying for a job at a faith-based organization, this falls under the old “don’t discuss religion or politics” caveat. I’d say the same goes for listing political affiliations – unless specifically relevant to the position you’re applying for, don’t include political information on your resume or cover letter.

      • RandomHookup says:

        It’s always interesting when I get resumes where the person worked on something that’s obviously political (a campaign, a Senate office, the Rush Limbaugh Show). You have to accept that some people are going to eliminate you based solely on that.

        Religion is another area altogether, though it’s funny to watch the way that some Mormons try to disguise their 2 year mission as an interpersonal foreign language sales position.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          Yes, but it’s amazing the language skills they pick up in 2 years. But I’d rather they not beat around the bush, and just come out and say “I learned to speak x language fluently while on a mission to… “

          • RandomHookup says:

            I think it’s a great experience (though evangelizing in a tough skill to position inside a company), but I can understand why they aren’t sure how to present it (my company has a big office in Provo, so it’s a given we have lots of LDS there). If you went to BYU or Utah State and took 6 years to finish, it’s kinda obvious what you were doing (though maybe not where you did it).

    • Straspey says:

      If you pro-actively reject a candidate on the basis of their religion – ie, if the fact that somebody mentions their religious and/or affiliation on their resume becomes a deal-breaker for you – then you might be in violation of federal labor laws with regard to discrimination in hiring:

      Religious Discrimination in Hiring:

      Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.

      Title VII covers hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, benefits, training opportunities, and any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. The exact definition of 15 or more employees means 15 or more people on the payroll for 20 or more weeks in the current or calendar year.

      Title VII allows churches and religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of religion. Title VII states that it does not apply to “. . . a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities.”

      Under Title VII, religion is defined as all aspects of religious observance, practice, and belief. Churches and religious organizations can discriminate on the basis of religion for all jobs.

      This includes and is not limited to secretaries, accountants, and janitors. The basis for permissible religious discrimination is the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom.

      The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of this in Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos,483 U.S. 327 (1987).

      • ARP says:

        But if you give them prefernce over other candidates because of their religion, you’re stuck in the same trap. Applicants should know this and not proactively offer this information unless its relevant to skills.

      • danmac says:

        I never said I unilaterally reject resumes based on a person’s religious faith; I just said I don’t like seeing that kind of information on them, as it’s generally not relevant to the position and shouldn’t be a qualifier for candidacy (at least for my institution).

        • Straspey says:

          “I never said I unilaterally reject resumes based on a person’s religious faith…”

          Sorry – I never meant to imply that you did, but I could see from my wording how you could have taken it that way.

          I should have used the generic pronoun “one” rather than the direct “you”.

        • FrugalFreak says:

          Even working for a religous organization including valuable experience? leadership, financial experience, social skills dealing with public, etc? There could be many applicants that have gained skills from working/volunteering at a religious org. I think your view is wrong and biased unfairly.

          • danmac says:

            The comment you’re responding to doesn’t mention it, but in another comment on this thread, I specifically stated: Yes, that’s what I’m talking about…if you worked for a church or participated in church-related activities that are relevant to the job advertised, by all means include it.

            I don’t think I’m being unfair or biased at all.

      • Anonymously says:

        Wait, so all I have to do is list my race or religion on my resume, assume they saw it, and sue when I don’t get an interview based on “discrimination”?

        • Straspey says:


          You have to be able to prove by “preponderance of the evidence” that the employer chose to reject your application (either in whole, or in part) as a result of your having listed your religious and/or church affiliation on your resume/application.

          • Anonymously says:

            So basically, even though it’s “the law”, this whole point is moot, because unless you come on and brag about breaking the law, there’s no way to prove it.

    • Geekybiker says:

      Totally agree. I would reject anyone with religious views on their resume on the basis of being unprofessional. Unless it was a job with a church. I don’t need to hear that, and I’m very sure my clients wouldn’t appreciate being lectured about religious views. I don’t care what you are. I don’t care if you want to be a bible thumping fundie in your private life. Just leave it at home.

    • JennQPublic says:

      That’s kind of like mentioning your affiliation with NORML or your local S&M club. While those might not specifically disqualify you for the job, mentioning them on your resume shows that you do not have a clear sense of the line between personal and professional.

      BTW, I’m a member of NORML and my local S&M club- you hiring? ;-)

  3. Shadowfire says:

    Never use “responsible for” or “responsibilities include.” Responsibilities makes you sound like you had to do things, while framing them as achievements makes it sound more like you enjoyed the work.

    Though I guess you should avoid “Achievement Unlocked: Salesman” unless you’re applying to Microsoft. :P

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Achievement Unlocked: Clark Stanley – Sell a combined $100,000 worth of Snuggies, Sham-Wows, and Slapchops.

    • ARP says:

      I don’t know. If I saw Acheivement Unlocked, I’d probably give them a chance if it was relevant. Now if they say their skills are “Big Guns” or “AI Hacking”, then it might be too far.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      I think mine would include Achievement Unlocked: Read 10000 Wikipedia Articles at Work.

    • caradrake says:

      This reminds me of a resume my husband showed me. It was really cool, and appropriate – a person applying for a software designer position did her resume and printed it out on a software box. It may have been a snopes-ish article, but it was cool nonetheless.

      There was also a resume made out like a Twitter page for someone wanting a social-networking type job.

      For the right job, I could see using an “Achievement Unlocked” sort of layout.

      And you got to admit, a resume with that much creativity would stick out. ;)

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      I’d be pretty tempted to hire someone who phrased it like that! I like a sense of humour in my underlings.

    • Cry Havoc says:

      No it doesn’t.

  4. Azzizzi says:

    Proofread your résumé. I find it hard to consider someone who can’t spell his own name the same way more than once.

    I agree with tailoring your résumé for each job you apply for. It shows that you at least read the exact requirements we’re looking for.

    • Mom says:

      ^This. And if you’re not a native English speaker, get someone who is a native English speaker to proofread your resume. Actually, even if you are a native English speaker, get someone else to proofread your resume.

    • Straspey says:

      “Proofread your résumé. I find it hard to consider someone who can’t spell his own name the same way more than once.”

      THIS – The number one offender.

      I have a friend who works in the HR department of his company. His boss – the director of HR – will immediately and instantly reject any resume with a typo and/or misspelling. It becomes an instant deal breaker.

      Why ?

      Because the HR director assumes that if you can’t pay close enough attention to the spelling and grammar of your own resume, then it’s safe to assume you’ll do the same with important company information, documents and correspondence.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Absolutely. I was hiring for an editing position and the name of the newspaper was the same as a very large city elsewhere in the country. This candidate was from that city, though across the country from the job. The city is easily misspelled if one isn’t paying attention, but noticeable on paper. She misspelled it every time — city or newspaper.

      • bluline says:

        Agree 100%. Grammar and spelling errors = instant rejection. You may have had teachers and professors in school to whom grammar and spelling didn’t mean much, but they mean a great deal in the real world.

        I’ve had friends ask me to review the resumes of their college-grad children, and you would not believe the errors I’ve found. Incomplete addresses (no city or state), incorrect or incomplete names for past employers, weak or non-existent objectives, and more. Truly pathetic.

        • sixsevenco says:

          I said this in another post, but I believe the objectives are a detriment to most job searches. They cause more harm than good. All they effectively do is limit your options. I would advise anyone to leave it out entirely. As a side benefit, leaving it out provides you with more space to describe your skills and accomplishments.

          An objective can be helpful of you are trying to make a dramatic career change which you need to explain to the potential employer.

          • Papa Bear says:

            Employment Objective: A position which allows me to utilize my hard earned education and experience to grow within the company and to place my skills where they will most benefit my employer.

      • scoli83 says:

        I’ve got a question for you:

        I have worked at two different organizations with the word “center” in their names. However, one of them was in Dallas, Texas, while the other was in London, UK. The Dallas organization spelled it “center,” while the London organization spelled it “centre.”

        My resume currently has it “correct” for each location – center for Dallas, and centre for London.

        Should I leave it like that or change it to be consistent to the American form (as I’m applying for jobs in the States)?

        • Straspey says:

          That’s a very good question – and one which I am not qualified to answer definitively.

          My intuition – and again, I’m just guessing here – would be to conform the word “Center” to the American norm, only because there’s a very good chance your resume will be viewed by people who have never seen the British spelling.

          On the other hand – if it’s a proper name – “The Consumerist Centre For Fast Food Information” then you might want to go with that.

          NOW – What’s *really* interesting is that my American dictionary spell-check add-on for my Firefox browser is already telling me that my use of “Centre” above is a misspelling and want to correct it for me.

          I think if it was me – what I might do is consult a professional resume consultant, or at least ask a friend of your’s who works in an American business.

          Great question.

          And good luck with your job search.

          • scoli83 says:

            Thanks for the advice.

            • Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

              I wouldn’t conform the spelling if the use of the word “center” would cause it to look as if I misspelled the name of a former employer. Sort of a similar answer to the one Straspey gave you. If it is a proper name, particularly one which a potential employer might look up in order to verify your work experience, use the correct spelling the company itself uses. I would hope that listing the employer’s location as London would explain the different spelling and would rather presume that knowledge than misspell a prior employer’s name.

              If it is merely a location, not the actual name, that’s a more difficult question to me. But I’d probably still leave it as “centre,” hoping that specifying London as the location would explain the difference.

    • Rachacha says:

      Especially if you are applying for a job where you will be writing/proofreading. My wife has reviewed many resumes with several spelling/grammar/punctuation errors, and if there is one mistake for a writing position they are immediately rejected, no matter how perfect the other credentials might be.

      • ARP says:

        IAAL (I am a lawyer) and I applied for a job I thought was a perfect match. I didn’t get a response and was a actually bit frustrated- I mean, how could they not at least do a phone screen? I went back into my resume and I found two grammar errors (a singular/plural and a their/there). I’m sure my face turning red, combined with slow change in expression, was priceless.

    • jesusofcool says:

      I cannot believe how often this is overlooked with resumes as well as cover letters. I know that consistently good grammar and proofreading in their resume and correspondence with the hiring manager has helped more than one candidate at our organization be singled out for a position.

  5. Thyme for an edit button says:

    No Comic Sans.

  6. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Sell yourself. Include an elevator-pitch and “can hit the ground running.”

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      This is probably why I am still unemployed. I cannot sell myself. I’ve been berated over and over for it but I have such a hard time on this. I’ve been told that isn’t uncommon for women, but still, I need to figure out how to get over it.

  7. ElleAnn says:

    I could use advise on this. Any thoughts on using a non-standard format? Before graduate school, I had 5 or 6 short-term (less than 6-month) contract positions for different employers doing essentially the same thing. I’m thinking about lumping them together under a single heading, followed by a list employers then a list of the tasks/accomplishments that we in common between all of the positions. I’m worried that it makes me look uncommitted that I had so many jobs in a short period of time.

    • galaxirose says:

      I think it’s ok for most resumes to only include relevant experience to the jobs you’re applying for. The resume isn’t really the place to try and explain gaps in employment, or how all the random work experience that everyone accumulates fits together to make you a great fit for the company — that’s what the interview is for.

      That being said, I think your approach seems logical. Contract work is fairly normal these days, and having a lot of it prior to going back to school doesn’t say to me that you were flaky or anything.

    • ARP says:

      I think your approach is good. That will give the appearance of a larger chunk of time. Formatting/Organization is key- this style of listing can easily look sloppy or unorganized.

    • Rachacha says:

      Part of my schooling involved 3-6 month internships. While the positions helped me gain experience, I as well was concerned about the potential “lack of commitment”. I listed eack of the positions and next to the position title I wrote “INTERNSHIP” or “X MONTH CONTRACT POSITION”, and it has never been an issue, especially if you can solicit a recommendation from one or more of the people that you worked with during the contract.

      • pot_roast says:

        I’ve found that to be an issue.. seemed like many hiring managers didn’t read the resume carefully. “So why have you had so many jobs?” I reply “They were 6-12 month contract positions” while looking at the word “CONTRACT” next to the title on the resume… :/
        I hated having to explain that one every time too.

    • stuny says:

      I advise you to spell advice correctly.

      Okay, sorry. I am not being the internet ass who comments on minuscule typos, however spell-checking is not the same as careful proofreading and mistakes like this sneak through. Give your resume to several trusted people to review. Objective eyes are much better than your own. Carelessness on your resume can be an absolute deal-breaker long before you get to the first interview.

  8. galaxirose says:

    Don’t include the famous “hobbies/activities”. No one cares.

    • Rachacha says:

      Unless those hoppies or activities are somehow related to the new position that you are applying for.

    • TalKeaton: Every Puzzle Has an Answer! says:

      Unless your hobbies or activities directly relate to the industry you work in. I work in game development, and I mess around with modding in my spare time, as well as attend various game dev events and organizations. I list those under hobbies and activities, as they’re items that show that I use my personal time in a manner that makes me an even better candidate for what I’m applying for.

      • selianth says:

        That’s relevant experience but if it were me I’d still avoid the term “Hobbies/Activities.” Call it “Other Skills” or something similar that makes it sound a little bit less like a personal dating ad. Just my opinion.

    • galaxirose says:

      Agreed on both points… I just can’t tell you the number of resumes I’ve seen that say things like “Horseback Riding” or “Hiking” or “Reading”.

    • Cry Havoc says:

      Eh. I’d say if you are still in college or right out of college with very little experience, it won’t hurt. I got a job in college that, based on a conversation with my coworkers a few months later, I’m pretty sure I only got because I mentioned on my resume that I played soccer. I was qualified in every way, plus their soccer season was about to start and I could play, so I’m pretty sure that put me over the top.

      For higher responsibility jobs you should probably leave that off, but then again if you are trying to get that type of job you shouldn’t have trouble filling in that space anyway. One little line on my resume about my interests got me a sweet job until I graduated.

      One thing my hiring manager Dad once told me is that there are lots of qualified people for jobs out there. Often the only thing that will set you apart is if you appear to want it more, or if the people hiring you think they will like you. If putting your interests on your resume lets people know that not only are you qualified for the position, but also that you will have something in common, I don’t see how that hurts.

    • suez says:

      I have to agree with those who said that if you’re right out of college, it can’t hurt since you probably don’t have much ELSE to add.

      Personally, I listed my years of working in live theater to help pay through half my time in college. While I had one interviewer tell me “We don’t care what you did with your hippie college friends,” (yes, she said that!), I had another interviewer tell me that this background was exactly what made my resume stand out because it showed I could hold the same taxing and ever-changing job for years. Guess which one offered me the position? And which one I WANTED to work for?

    • Hmmmmm needs more WarOtter says:

      Guess I should take Keg Stand master off my resume.

  9. Polish Engineer says:

    The biggest resume blunder is not linking your resume entries to specific results, preferably metrics.

    Maintained database – no one cares.

    Maintained database of such and such information to achieve some goal and increasing efficiency by x%. – I’m interested.

    Employers don’t care that you showed up for eight hours a day and were busy. They care that you got meaningful work done.

    • ARP says:

      ideally it should be a combination of the two. If just talk about 3 acheivements, then it hard to gauge your scope of experience and responsibilities. It should be some general and a few specific (e.g. was lead developer for Fall Out 3).

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      But what if your jobs weren’t meaningful?

  10. jvanbrecht says:

    Include all the pertinent information on the first page.. I hate going through 5 page resumes. Customize it so that everything that a company is looking for is on the first page, because many (well at least in my case and those of my peers who review resumes for our respective departments) will not look beyond the first page if it does not catch our interest or attention.

    • Tim says:

      I’d add that unless you have at least 8 years or so of professional experience, don’t go over one page. Brevity is a virtue.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I would go a step further and say that unless you have extensive experience, all of which is helpful, don’t have a second page on your resume. Saying you have 15 years of experience doesn’t mean you need to list every single job during that 15 year span.

  11. Clyde Barrow says:

    When using acronyms, ALWAYS spell it out and capitalize each first letter of each word. Then put the acronym (also capitalized) in parenthesis at the end of the wording-phrase, but with one space in between.

    Capitalize any word following a colon.

    Spell numbers zero to nine, after this use numerical spellings such as 10, 11, etc.

    Don’t use more than two types of font and don’t use font smaller than size 11.

    A resume is only an outline of your Knowledge, Skills, and Achievements (KSA) so don’t write a book.

    Better be able to prove everything you say in your resume, but don’t list everything. A resume only gets you an interview so save the best info/data for the actual interview to impress them so they can decide to hire you.

    Don’t BS, just be honest. If they don’t hire you, move on to the next employer until you are hired cuz it’s not the end of the world.

    • Tim says:

      Your first thing is a grammar habit that really annoys me. Listen. If it’s an abbreviation that people, in context, would understand, use it each time (e.g. FBI). If not, spell it out the first time and use the abbreviation on subsequent reference (e.g. “American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials” the first time, “AASHTO” after that). If people won’t understand the abbreviation after you spell it out the first time, it’s too confusing an abbreviation, and you just shouldn’t abbreviate it at all.

      The colon rule is wrong unless the clauses the colon separates are independent. Even then, I prefer not to.

      “Knowledge, skills and achievement” should not be in title case because it’s neither a title nor a proper noun. I oppose the serial comma, but I can negotiate on that.

      I agree with everything else.

      • selianth says:

        I will stop using a serial comma when you pry it out of my stiff, cold, and dead hands.

        • danmac says:

          I like to use a serial comma, but I also don’t have a huge problem with not using it. What drives me nuts, though, is when I’m proofing a 100-page document in which serial commas are sometimes used and sometimes not. It gives me freakin’ OCD.

      • jebarringer says:

        JW is correct on the acronyms. Acronyms that are common / easily derived for you may not be for the reader. The form he describes is the preferred form for scientific literature (at least in my field).

        KSA is in fact a title. I’ve seen it used many times in job listings, or as a title of a section of an application.

    • target_veteran says:

      For acronyms, context is important. Spelling out MicroSoft Structured Query Language is incorrect; just use MS SQL. Don’t use HyperText Markup Language; it’s HTML. Some acronyms are so ubiquitous in an industry that the reader will understand them without spelling out. Doing the full treatment each time wastes words, space, and the reader’s time.

      Your colon rule is an incorrect generalization. Only capitalize independent clauses after a colon. Consider this sentence:
      Little girls are made of three things: sugar, spice, and everything nice.
      Tell me that needs capitalization on “sugar.”

      When to spell out numerals is a tricky subject. There are several good treatments of the issues on the web. Basically, err on the side of clarity. 2% is clearer than two percent, but “two-year plan” is better than “2-year plan.”

      Size 11 is huge. 8 is readable.

      • txvoodoo says:

        8-point fonts aren’t readable if the reader is “of a certain age.” Have pity on those of us in that group, please.

  12. AlphaLackey says:

    Cross your fingers and pray. Really, you include the essentials in a legible format, your chances are about as good as anyone else’s are. If there was a magic combination of fonts and border accents that could get you a job every time, people would be using it.

    There is so much luck involved in the hiring process, it’s actually kind of sickening. The variance between the top candidates is microscopic compared to the variance in random irrational and emotional responses people have when reading your resume (“oh, look, he used ‘perspicuity’, he must be quite educated” versus “oh, look, he used ‘perspicuity’, he’s trying to white-wash me with big words”).

    I was once part of a hiring committee for work, we had to winnow about five hundred applications down to six interviews. We got down to seven resumes where each met all our posted qualifications to the same degree. HR refused to add a seventh interview. Hours went by and no one could justify removal of one of the candidates. I strongly suggested we draw lots to eliminate one candidate.

    Although the rest of the group crapped all over the idea, I maintain it was the fairest thing, since each of the equally qualified candidates had an equal chance (6/7) of getting an interview. Eventually, they found some minor issue that suggested one of the seven came from a school with a slightly less prestigious IT faculty, and that was used to eliminate one candidate, a tie-breaker buried in the sixth decimal place. I still think to this day, my method was fairer.

    And everything I said about the nauseating variance in turning an interview into a resume? Multiply that by some rhetorically large number for the actual interview process.

    Okay, rant over.

  13. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    # 11: “frequently post on Consumerist while I should be working”

  14. curmudgeon5 says: has a ton of sensible advice on this, more so than most career sites. Look at the Resume category on her site.

  15. Home_Economist says:

    When I look at resumes, I dislike long resumes that is more than one page and/or irregular sized paper. Keep your resume to one page, two pages maximum, always use 8 1/2 x 11 paper, not legal sized paper folded extra times to fit in a regular envelope. You can exceed the one page rule, but you have better be older than forty, with a long successful job history, and have some incredible career achievements and education that are critical for a hiring manager to know.

    • macoan says:

      I have a 2 page resume. First page, all the important information – my skills, knowledge, etc… Also included is education, certificates, etc…..

      Everything on the front page should be what gets me hired. Second page, is job history – this will go into a little more detail on how I used the skills & knowledge at each job… where the 2nd page is there to help after the 1st page sells me.

    • Dollie says:

      You still get paper resumes? Most are electronic now so page length shouldn’t matter. Most employers will be suspicious if a 1 page resume comes in from a seasoned professional. If you want a one page resume, you’re either going to get someone stuck in a rut for 10+ years that has nothing else to put on the page, someone who hasn’t been in the job market very long, or someone that is hiding something.

      If I were to send you my resume (currently about 2 1/2 pages listing all experience, programming languages, and relevant skills), what would you suggest I omit to fit your needs? What should I keep from you? I would think hiring managers would want information about a candidate as possible. Is that no longer a true statement?

      • Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

        Electronic resumes are often printed out so that they can be easily compared to other applicants’ resumes. Submitting in electronic format by no means ensures that is how your resume will be used by a potential employer.

        Beyond that, the problem isn’t so much the paper it takes as the time to read what is there. Often, if you have to go beyond one page, it means that you aren’t effectively hitting the relevant high points. Or that your organization of information could be done in a better way. Or that parts of your resume might be repetitive. Or irrelevant to the position for which you applied. I’m not saying that your resume necessarily contains those flaws. I’m saying that I’ve seen plenty of 2+ page resumes which would have read much better as 1 page resumes more closely targeted to the job description. If I have to wade through extra material I don’t care about, or see essentially the same material listed a new way, I consider the applicant to have wasted my time. Not the mindset you want for the person considering your application in a difficult economy.

  16. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Just another tip, don’t open your cover letter with, “Stop what you’re doing, cuz I’m a bout to ruin the image and the style that you’re used to.”

    Not that I know from experience….


  17. Tim says:

    Don’t underestimate the power of a cover letter. Unless you’ve spoken to this person before, you have to introduce yourself. A resume is a very rough way to do that and not very conversational.

    A cover letter is there to introduce yourself to the hiring person. Make sure it is addressed to him or her. Don’t repeat what’s in your resume, but complement it. Write things that don’t make sense in a resume or that don’t fit. Don’t just say “I want this job, here’s my resume, read it.”

    For me, a good cover letter can really set someone apart.

    • selianth says:

      One recruiter friend says that she gets cover letters for approximately 1/3 of the resumes that come in, and she honestly doesn’t care whether someone includes one or not. Maybe she’s unusual in the recruiting business though.

      • Mom says:

        I have mixed feelings about cover letters. Cover letters are a holdover from the days when it was hard to customize the resume. You had one resume, made a bunch of paper copies, and mailed them out with cover letters that explained why you were the best fit for this particular job. Now, tailoring the resume is easier, and since everything is done electronically, a lot of places won’t even accept a cover letter.

        However, as a hiring manager, sometimes a well written cover letter is valuable, because it’s a chance for the candidate to explain why I should pay attention to them. For example, a cover letter will come in handy for career changers with resumes that don’t particularly match the job they’re applying for to explain why they would be a good fit.

        90% of the time, however, a cover letter doesn’t tell me anything I can’t get from the resume. In those cases, they aren’t worth the trouble. Custom, however, still says to send a cover letter. So if I were applying for a job, I’d still send a cover letter.

    • ARP says:

      Gotta disagree. Cover letters are good if you need to explain something that your resume just can’t capture. Otherwise, a simple, where I found this job, one or two sentences on why I’m a good fit, and here is my resume, will do fine.

  18. human_shield says:

    11) Don’t write you cover letter like it’s a text to your BFF.

  19. Jane_Gage says:

    The ones that hit my trashcan first are the ones that use the salutation “Dear Sir,”

    • Hmmmmm needs more WarOtter says:

      I hate using that salutation as well when I apply for jobs. However, it can be almost impossible to find out to whom the resume is going since most companies don’t list that in the ad or won’t tell you over the phone.

      What do you do?

      • AlphaLackey says:

        Dear Sir or Madam, I’d assume.

        Ultimately, I’d put something in that made it clear I was making no presumptions about the gender of the hiring manager, and if the person in question was so uptight as to manufacture offense at any particular term or arrangement (i.e. “what a misogynist for not saying ‘Dear Madam or Sir!'”) when my intent was crystal clear, I’m better off not working at such an organization that allows such attitudes, so they’d be doing me a favor.

  20. ovalseven says:

    Do not end your cover letter with something like, “I will call you soon to schedule an interview”. It’s arrogant, presumptuous and disrespectful.

    I can’t believe how many career sites are recommending this bad advice.

  21. tbax929 says:

    Proofread, proofread, proofread. If I see a resume with a spelling/grammatical error it immediately goes into the circular file.

  22. sixsevenco says:

    Most people seem to think it’s necessary to include an Objective section on their resumes. I think all an objective section does it limit your options. I recommend that you leave it out, plus leaving it out frees up space for more relevant information.

    * You want to work for a growing company? Not a good fit, we’re downsizing.

    * You want to work in a fast-paced environment? You wont be happy here. We’re big and bureaucratic.

    * You want to work for my company? Really??? How do you know that so definitively? You’re just saying that… Pass.

    * You want a job in sales? Really??? Really!?!?!?? Did you read the job description? This is an administrative position…

    I recommend that you only use an objective statement if you need to explain a dramatic career shift, like moving from operations to sales or changing industries.

  23. marillion says:

    If you are applying for a job that is creative in nature, (ie artist, graphic design, public relations) you can be more creative with the look and feel of your resume.. It’s a subtle way of selling your talent.. That said, don’t get overly flowery or garish with the look and feel.

    Single space after periods. While a double space is still technically ok to do, with modern word processing, a double space disrupts flow and just plain looks wrong.

    • Cry Havoc says:

      No it doesn’t.

      • AlphaLackey says:

        Agreed. The only thing that might make it wrong is the continued degradation of the written language in North America. It was, and still is, correct style as far as I know.

        • suez says:

          It’s no longer necessary with the advent of automatic justification of electronic type. It has nothing to do with grammar and everything to do with typesetting, and obsolete typesetting at that.

  24. brokenworld says:

    Yes, after a few days send a “thank you for the interview” email.

    Don’t, however, call in day after day asking “is the job chosen yet?” “Did they read my resume?” “Oh God I need this job so bad they’re going to take my house”.

  25. isileth says:

    I don’t like when people send their resumes with an e-mail address or nickname suitable for a social network, not for work.
    LittleCutie may be nice as a personal address, but not for work and in my mail-box it looks too much like spam.
    And PLEASE spell-check the document and ask someone to read it for you.
    As regards templates, in Europe there is a template called “European Curriculum vitae”.
    It’s been prepared by the EU (I think) and it’s really good.
    It’s clear, has everything you may need and easy to personalize.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      Haha, I was just going to mention silly email addresses. They can really undermine your efforts to look professional. There are dozens of free email services where you can get an address that is just

  26. katerrific says:

    I saw a cover letter once where the applicant wrote she had “the ability to work as a team.” So we figured she was super-human!

  27. MinervaAutolycus says:

    I don’t know that you even need a fancy resume anymore. When my husband was unemployed during the past five years, every one of his applications was to a web-based application system and it had him paste his resume into a box and it didn’t use any type of styling.

  28. framitz says:

    Good common sense tips.

    When I was contacted by a temp agency for the job I currently hold they reformatted my resume for submission. It was not a lot different and had the same content so I kept it to use.

    Later when I had to apply for the position as a full employee I had to go through the whole resume, application, and interview process. I had the job description already, so I modified the resume so that it was a perfect fit for the job.

    For those in the hunt there are numerous good suggestions by users here.

  29. Jamfish says:

    Having recently gone through this…
    *As others have said, keep that resume short (2 pages max)

    *Don’t include more than 10 years worth of employers.
    If you feel you must for relevancy’s sake, those older jobs should only have one line each (Employer, Title, Years of service).

    *For technical-types, open with your area of discipline (as a title) and a two sentence statement. It’s better than an ‘objective’ and lets the employer know what you’re about at a glance. This can be shaped differently depending on with whom you are applying.

    *Follow that opener with your top 3 or 4 skill highlights, followed by a more detailed section.

    *Employment descriptions should be brief, with bullets of your greatest hits. But be prepared to talk about *any* of them in depth.

    Worked for me; your mileage may vary.

  30. Cry Havoc says:

    Here’s the truth about resume tips: There is very little information given out there that is actually useful. There are a few good rules to follow (proofread, simple and scannable format, etc.) but beyond that it is up to the individual preferences and biases of the hiring manager. Most of the comments in here are only confirming this again.

    I’ve had more than a few different “professionals” look at my resume for advise. Guess what happens every time? Every person finds something wrong with it, whether it’s the format I used, the order I list experience vs education, or whatever. I’ll change it until they feel it’s a really great resume. Then I’ll take it to another person for another opinion. Surprise! My newly proofread resume is suddenly full of errors again. You can read resume tips until your eyes bleed and you won’t ever get a perfect resume.

    It’s all subjective. There are a few things you can do to make your resume look good, but for every person that only cares that your resume looks clean and readable, there is another that will throw it out because, “it looks like a MS Word template,” as if that even matters. It’s a crap shoot. The best things you can do to get a job occur AFTER you have turned in your resume.

    To sum up, get some advise from several people and take what makes sense to you that you think will best represent who you are. I wouldn’t spend too much time on it, because when it is all said and done every manager has their own stupid ways of screening applications that don’t even make sense. They are not able to screen every one carefully, so they create their own individual ways of doing so that have no real basis. Listening to every resume tip out there will only spin you in circles.

    My wife had an interview once with a man who said he liked her credentials, but went on for 10 minutes on her resume about how she should have listed this first and put this over here, etc. Really, dumbass? REALLY? No one else has ever had a problem with it before, and no one has since. She went away from that meeting knowing exactly what kind of time wasting micromanaging moron he was, and when she got a job offer she turned him down (pre-recession).

    Was this a bit of a rant? I feel like I’ve been ranting. Oh well.

  31. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    As someone who hires throughout the year (developers, technical writers/editors, sales and marketing), this is bull$h!+.
    I am more interested in the content than the form. As long as it is laid out logically, I really don’t care what format you use.
    I DO want to see a resume written for the position. That means reading the advertisement, researching my company, and writing the resume as if I wrote the ad just for you. And avoid the “To utilize my leadership and organizational skills within a team oriented organization” crap. I don’t want an objective that is buzzwords. Give me more than “Edited documents.” Tell me “Edited documents for nine products, including new products and updates” gets me interested.

    In short, use a format with a nice layout. Rewrite the resume for the advertised position. Make me want to call you to get more information (Pique my interest!). And have another set of eyes read it over for grammar and spelling.

  32. zombie70433 says:

    Proof that people who work in HR are brainless twits. They belong in Satan’s anus, being forced to scrape the excrement of the souls he devoured for all eternity.

  33. DeathByCuriosity says:

    I do all this (except that my resume is very plain in style and could use some polish) and I’m still unemployed.

    • RandomHookup says:

      A resume is just a door opener. There’s a lot more to getting a job than a good resume.

      • DeathByCuriosity says:

        Obviously. Mine isn’t opening doors for some reason; I almost never get called for interviews. I have yet to figure out exactly why.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          I would give you a job, just because I love your avatar.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Well, there can be lots of reasons why, but it sounds like it’s time to change strategies and not rely on the resume to get you a call. One of the best ways is to use something like LinkedIn to make yourself into an employee referrals (referrals get a much higher call back rate — and it’s often the reason why a submitted candidate with a good background doesn’t get called).

  34. Shield Ramrod says:

    During one interview “at a software giant in Redmond,” the hiring manager told me I needed to give her work samples for each job listed on my resume. Which is absolute nonsense. During the secondary interview with her peon, I explained that confidentiality and security agreements often prevented me from providing even the *smallest* details of some work. Their tone was essentially, “too bad.”

    This was one of those interviews where I kept her business card with a note on the back about what an asshole she was. (I should get those into a spreadsheet some day.)

    • ARP says:

      I can tell you from experience that MS has a loose (in my sole opinion) definition of confidentiality when it comes to other’s people’s stuff. How do you think they’ve copied everybody else’s ideas?

    • zombie70433 says:

      At that point, with nothing to lose, you give snippets of programs that spell out “F*CK YOU, BILLY”

  35. Dieflatermous says:

    If we tell you “You have to submit your application online, all hiring is done through Home Office” and you continue to harp that you NEED to speak to a manager (who is busy) and waste our time you get a nice big “Does not follow instructions well” post-it beside your name as a warning not to hire you.

    Seriously, we’ve designated one of our newest part-timers a manager for the express purposes of collecting and then tossing out resumes because people can’t follow simple instructions. It only makes you memorable in a douchecanoe way.

  36. BETH says:

    Spell-check, or course.

    Have another (knowledgeable) person proofread it for you. It’s very difficult to see your own mistakes.

    Use two spaces after a colon and a period.

    Know the difference between their, there, and they’re; your and you’re.

    “Cannot” is usually one word (if “can’t” can be substituted).

    • suez says:

      Using two spaces after a period is a pre-computer style that is not only no longer necessary, but strongly discouraged within the design/desktop publishing community. It was necessary in a time when you had to manually count spaces within a line on a typewriter so that you could avoid going outside the margins. However, with the advent of modern computer software with automatic justification, it is not necessary and can even screw up spacing. If you are disqualifying people for doing what is techincally correct, you aren’t doing your firm any favors.

  37. BETH says:

    Don’t use a font that is too small. Leave enough space around the paragraphs. The effect should be clean and neat looking, not small and cramped. If it’s too hard to read, no one will read it.

    Try to keep it to one page–two at the most. Don’t list 20 jobs. It makes it look like you (1) are old, and (2) never stay in one place very long.

    If you have military experience, highlight it, especially in this time of patriotic pride.

    • Dollie says:

      So a resume more than one page means you’re old (what is ‘old’ to you? Over 60? 50? 25?) or you’re not stable like the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people over the last 15 -25 years jumping from one job to another out of pure greed? You must not hire many former contractors or “old people”.

      I would love to hear from you when you get “old” and “unstable”. Check back in when you turn the dreaded 35.

  38. lawgirl502 says:

    How do you explain gaps in resume for giving birth? Stay at home parent for period of time? Was full time grad student? Basically, how would one say HIRE ME, I have a ton of education, changed careers midstream pre-degrees, have other applicable work experience…?

    • RandomHookup says:

      Sometimes, the best approach on a resume is to be honest. I see it on resumes all the time and it better explains what happened without me having to fill in the gaps myself.

      2006-2009: Time off to raise a family

      Sure, some will figure out you are the parent of young children and will need lots of time off, but it’s better than letting me assume you were sitting around hunting for a job.

  39. Papa Bear says:

    So much emphasis is put on resumes that many people forget to follow-up. This is far more important than the resume itself. A well prepared resume is important, but putting it to work for you is even more important.

    (1) If the resume was submitted electronically, send a hard-copy. Often electronic resumes are read by software packages looking for keywords. Many good resumes get tossed because of this. Hard-copies get looked at by humans.

    (2) If hard copy was sent, follow-up with a telephone call two to three days latter to find out if resume was received and express your interest. The key here, find out who the hiring manager is and ask for that person. Even if you get directed to his assistants, they learn your name and may pull your resume.

    (3) After the telephone call, if you have an e-mail to a specific person, follow-up with that, too. If you don’t, drop a note and include a resume. Even with the e-mail, you should drop a note and additional resume.

    (4) After a week or so, drop by and talk to the receptionist. Ask if you meet the hiring manager or person doing the hiring for the specific job. If you can’t, fill out an app. You will have to when you are called for an interview, anyhow, so get it out of the way. If you can’t leave a resume. Always ask for a business card for the HR manager.

    (5) Continue to follow-up with weekly calls, better yet, visits and letters.

    If you demonstrate that you are willing to work at finding a job, you will stand a better chance of getting the job. When all else is equal, the person who is known the most will get hired.

  40. OSAM says:

    Asking for a picture is illegal in many places.

  41. Yeah Right says:

    Typos, especially if it’s a reference to a common tool in the industry. Lengthy resumes…more than 2 or 3 pages is a waste of my time and anything experience beyond ten years is too much. Using “Involved in…” to describe your skills.

  42. houstonspace says:

    The job application website of any large company (IBM, Boeing, Exxon, etc.), or even the U.S. Government ( simply asks you to create a profile and cut-and-paste your resume into forms – or fill out fillable forms for each category with buttons that say things like ‘add more education experience’ or ‘add another job’. the details go into a giant database that is then word-mined when someone needs to fill a position. If you don’t use the right target words, your resume is left out – even if you are perfect for the job. Resume paper, formatting, and any uniqueness is usually wiped clean.

    The only time resume formatting matters is when you are applying at a small company that doesn’t have any system like that.

    However, in both cases, it is very important to phrase things competently – you can’t come off sounding vague, or using terrible grammar.

  43. chaelyc says:

    It’s hilarious how many of these comments mention the type of paper you should print a resume on (weight, color, size, etc) considering I haven’t even found an employer who accepts a paper resume in probably 2-4 years.

    Unless they tell you otherwise, ALWAYS SUBMIT IN PDF FORMAT. If it’s possible combine your cover letter & resume into one PDF document. Put your last name & position you’re applying for in the title of the document so they don’t have to rename 100 submissions that are all called “Resume” in order to save them.

    If your resume is more than 1 page long make sure it says CONTINUED at the bottom of the 1st page since additional pages aren’t very obvious on most PDF readers.

  44. Jimulacrum says:

    1) If e-applying, submit your resume as a PDF if possible. That way, there are no formatting surprises on the other end that make your delicately arranged document into a mess.

    2) Use a consistent voice, appropriate tenses, and solid grammar. Good writing is always a plus. Bad writing makes you look sloppy or uneducated.

    3) Phrase things in the best light possible, e.g., “resigned” instead of “quit.”

    4) Keep it pretty but simple. A single-line border can make a plain resume look that much more elegant. Aesthetics count.

    5) Don’t repeat the same garbage over and over again. Job descriptions don’t need to include every boring detail of every job, especially if those details are the same in three jobs. Focus on highlights and achievements. Play up occasional duties outside the scope of your position if they’re relevant to the position you want. Omit things you’re not willing to do again.