Resume Dos and Don'ts

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A potential employer could ask for any number of items during the hiring process. If you are applying for a creative role, they may ask for a portfolio. If the position is more goal oriented, they may ask for proof of your previous successes. No matter what the job is, however, your new employer will always require you to submit a resumé. Your resumé will be the cornerstone of any application process, so let’s address some key Dos and Don’ts to help your resumé shine!

Resume Highlights

Before we talk about what a resumé should and shouldn’t have, let’s take a moment to focus what a good resume should highlight about you. Of course, the primary information will be your work experience. In your experience, your potential employer will see what positions you’ve held and for how long, both indicators of skill level, commitment and to a degree, integrity. In addition, the layout of your resumé should demonstrate creativity and professionalism. Finally, how the overall resumé is written will convey not only how well you communicate, but how enthusiastic you are about your new role. With all of this in mind, let’s go ahead and tackle the Dos and Don’ts of a good resumé.

Dos of a good resumé:

·         Do list only relevant experience, or at least show how your experience could be relevant. For instance, 5 years of dog-walking may not be relevant for a position as a sales rep and should be omitted if you have any better experience that you can list. However, if you’ve only been a dog-walker, highlight any skills that could be transferable, i.e. customer relations with owners and strict schedule keeping with clients.

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·         Do highlight the quantitative and qualitative results of your work. This takes the extra step beyond “this is what I did” and turns it into “this is how I impacted my previous company.” Doing so not only shows that you worked with a company, but that you were effective as well.

·         Do list your technical skills, certifications, and qualifications, so long as they are relevant of course. While being CPR certified is certainly impressive, most jobs will find that information interesting at best. Instead, focus on what the role could require, and highlight those skills first.

·         Do link your resume to any professional social media you have. Your LinkedIn is a great place to start, and any online portfolio is a must as well. Be wary when linking to anything like Facebook or Twitter, however, as potential employers will see not only your comments, but the comments of others as well.

·         Do spruce up your resumé with some unique and attractive formatting. If you’re not 100% design savvy, fret not. Most word processing programs will have templates that you can follow, or a quick Google search can yield some inspiration. You’ll want to find something light and readable, but just about anything is better than just a straight list of jobs on a page.

Don’ts of a good resumé:

·         Don’t create an Objective Statement. Every employer will know that you’re looking for a position that will “better myself while adding value to the company.” What employers really want to know is what you know and what you can do[LC2] . For example create a brief profile summary instead or use a descriptive title instead. If you are seeking a  digital marketing or sales position try Digital Marketing & Sales Professional as a resume title

·         Don’t go crazy with the font. A good resume should be clearly legible without deciphering or a magnifying glass, so keep the font neat and appropriately sized. Our go to fonts include Calibri, Cambria, and Garamond. Just keep your employer in mind when selecting the best font for the situation. Try to avoid color font and bolded/ chunky and script fonts

·         Don’t overdo it with colors. Just like with the font, we want the resume to appear professional. While some modest color may help your resumé stand out, aggressive neons may become distracting and detract from your message. You can’t go wrong with Blue and Black.

·         Don’t use poor grammar or slang. Remember, this resumé should demonstrate your ability to effectively communicate in a professional setting.

·         Don’t speak poorly of previous companies. Even if you are leaving because the company treats its employees badly, addressing that during an interview will only show you in a negative light to your new employer.

·         DO. NOT. LIE. It may seem incredibly easy to fake a fact or two, such as management level or certifications held, but we promise this misinformation will come to light. Instead, be honest about shortcomings you may have, and show how you plan on improving. An employer is much more likely to help you grow than hire someone they can’t trust. Instead, highlight your eagerness to learn a new skill or trait. Honesty is the best policy


While this list can be manipulated depending on the situation, following these Dos and Don’ts should lead you to success for your next resumé. If for any reason you’re still struggling, we here at Lightning Clout are always happy to lend a helping hand as well. Just remember that your resumé is your story, so tell it clearly, tell it proudly, and make it memorable!