Resume Do’s and Don’ts

By: Cecilia Scanlon

Top 3 don’ts on a resume

No graphics or photos.

I know you spent time learning those cool Photoshop tricks and you want to show them off but don’t, it’s just tacky. You want a simple, well formatted resume that’s easy to read. Your experience should speak for itself without the distraction of a graphic or worse, a photo.

Don’t go longer than one page for your resume.

No hiring manager has ever turned to page 3 of a resume and said, “Eureka! The good stuff is back here!” A resume should always be one page with your most recent and relevant roles listed first. As your experience grows, remove older jobs or roles that are not as impressive compared to what you’re doing now.

Avoid basic information omissions or inconsistencies.

You would be surprised how often I see a resume without an address and I wonder how difficult it would be if I have to relocate this person to another city. As a result, I just don’t bother and avoid the potential headache. It’s easy for applicants to hone in on the experience itself and forget about checking to see if their contact information is complete, current, and matches LinkedIn.

Top 3 do’s for a resume

Keywords are important.

There are some hefty algorithms on LinkedIn and hiring managers can specifically target keywords when filtering for candidates. Include buzzwords from your desired industry like “SEO, JavaScript,” etc. and use those organically in your bullet points or even enter them as a skill so it’s reflected on your resume profile.

Be specific.

I recently read a resume with a bullet point that said, “Led and trained 6 people.” I read this and thought, where did this candidate lead them? To the beach? Did this candidate then train them how to swim? Lacking specifics is simply wasting precious real estate on your resume. Provide specifics on how you personally helped or contributed to the company, not just an overview of your role. Include data or stats on this contribution like revenue or some performance indicator to show impact or growth (for example: 30% YOY increase on units sold).

Save your resume as a PDF.

Remember that time you copied and pasted your resume into an application system and it came out a jumble of bad formatting? Then you had to spend all afternoon making it look less like a disordered mess? Different email programs handle attachments differently and cause weird formatting to be displayed. To be safe, save it as a PDF, which reliably opens and prints the original format.

One piece of advice for how the resume helps you in the interview

Hiring managers need to include meaningful and specific examples of why a candidate is the right one to hire. It’s not good enough to write, “This person is amazing, let’s hire them!” Companies expect concrete examples of how that person will contribute. In an interview, take your time answering questions and allow the hiring manager to take notes. When expanding on the bullet points you’ve included on your resume focus on one aspect at a time and make sure the hiring manager is clear before moving on to the next item. The more quality information you provide, the stronger your chances will be when the hiring manager represents you to a higher level decision maker.

Cecilia is a Senior Manager of Optimization Strategy at Yahoo!
A fun fact about her: “I am an identical twin, and I mean REALLY identical. We both work in media and on the rare occasion we attend the same industry conference, there have been incidents of hugs involving the wrong twin! Awkward, but of course well meaning and we usually laugh it off when we realize the person meant that warm welcome for the other twin. On top of this, we live across the street from each other, and we both just had babies that are 6 months apart from each other. So when I’m not at work, I’m entertaining a child or two!”
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