The Do’s and Don’ts of Resume Writing


Form Letters Have Gone the Way Of the Dodo; Make Your Experience Count By Writing A Better Resume

Resume writing is less than pleasant. You have to sum up years of work in to a few clever lines, make yourself look attractive, and maintain relevance in both your industry and the career field in general. Not to mention making yourself stand out among tens, hundreds, thousands of other applicants.

So it’s easy to see where some people can go wrong when it comes to crafting up a solid and unique resume.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for resume writing.

Do list all of your contact information…

…and make it look professional.

Email addresses such as “plzhireme” or “superhardworker” aren’t going to win you any points with the hiring manager. If you don’t have a grown-up email address yet (looking at you, cutiepie287@earthlink), then register one before creating your resume.

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Including social media accounts, depending on the industry you’re in, is also pretty crucial, as it shows a presence online. For industries such as marketing, publishing, and sales, having a presence on social media can make or break your chances of landing an interview.

Don’t cram every single detail in to your resume…

…and keep it short and sweet.

Job titles such as “secretary” and “editor” are fairly straightforward. What your resume should show is how you rocked that position. What special projects did you work on? Did you have an impact on the company as a whole? Were you a thought leader in your department?

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List your accomplishments and extraordinary projects. Simply stating “I answered the phones and managed a file system” isn’t very attractive. Listing that you helped implement a new phone system to help streamline calls for the business, developed a new filing system, and built an information database that increased customer service abilities will sound much more attractive and showcase your initiative and work ethic.

Don’t try to keep your resume all on one page…

…but do make sure that your resume outlines your work history that’s relevant to the position you’re applying for.

With today’s economy, the more relevant experience you have, the better, and it’s not always going to fit on one page.

That’s not to say, however, you should cram every job you’ve ever had in to your work history.* Unless that part time job you had during summers off during college or on the weekends while you were in high school is super relevant to your experience in the industry, a potential employer probably won’t care.

*(An exception to this, obviously, is for those with short work histories who are just starting out in their field. Those new to the workforce should include their full work history on their resume to showcase work ethic and responsibility. That summer job at the supermarket just might show an employer that you’re not a lazy bum.)

Do use industry terminology…

…But don’t cram the resume so full of buzzwords and obscure lingo that it ends up looking like someone sat on your keyboard.

Your resume is a great place to show that you understand the language of the industry you’re interested in working in, but a potential employer doesn’t want to be bombarded with jargon.

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A resume is probably the last piece of writing where you would expect to be able to write naturally, but it’s one of the best places to do so. Formatting aside, the voice and style of your resume will be the very first impression a recruiter or hiring manager will have of you, so make it count.

Keep your resume clean, specific, and smart. If you’re simply using the word because you think it sounds neat, there’s a good chance you’re simply just showing off your vocabulary.


Writing a resume isn’t the easiest task, but if you know how to tackle it, then you can set yourself up for success and, hopefully, an interview.

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Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Laura Whitener is the managing editor of Firmology, technology focused news and insight for small business owners and online entrepreneurs. Laura graduated from DePaul’s notable Master of Writing and Publishing program in Chicago. She survives on coffee, apples, and Pandora. When she isn't editing or writing, Laura enjoys knitting, adding to her massive book collection, and culinary adventures. You can find Laura on Twitter and LinkedIn.