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Your Résumé Is Hurting Your Job Search

Listen closely Class of 2017

Alexis Davis
May 2, 2017 · 5 min read

I was #blessed to start a new job about a month ago, and I’ve already started the process of hiring an entry-level employee to join my team as a social media specialist. I posted the job online, promoted it on social media and quickly watched the résumés file in.

Boy oh boy did I instantly see sooo many people, especially soon-to-be-grads, who need a lot of résumé help.

I then decided to write this post as a handy-dandy checklist for those who need a few pointers to get their résumé in tip-top shape. I recently wrote a blog highlighting some key LinkedIn tips, but this 100% deserves its own focused post.

And before I begin, a very special thanks to those who helped crowdsource this blog based on a recent tweet. Now here we go…

Your Résumé Should Be One Page

This is the golden rule. If designers are able to get Elon Musk’s résumé to one page then you really have no excuse, especially if you are in college or a recent grad. Get the points you really need to across in a few sentences, and then elaborate more on LinkedIn. With that being said, put your LinkedIn at the top of your résumé and hyperlink it.

Tailor It to the Job You’re Applying For

The job I was hiring for was focused on social media, yet I could not even begin to tell you how many résumés I received that didn’t focus on social media or even mention those two words. I would find myself hitting Command+F to find the term in applicant’s résumés, which btw is way more than some hiring managers would even bother doing. Most others would have quickly moved on to the next applicant.

It’s important to tailor your résumé and use keywords from the job description because some companies use programs that scan your résumé for key words during step one. Without tailoring, you’re out of the game before you even got the chance to get a pair of human eyes on your application.

Make Your Résumé Appealing

Most résumés look alike these days, so try standing out from the crowd! There are so many people who can add some color, bar graphs, and way more to your résumé on sites like Fiverr starting at, you guessed it, $5.

Also — When applying on sites like Indeed or Monster, include your actual résumé instead of the one the site creates for you. It shows your personality.

Save Your Résumé As Your Name In a PDF

This may seem minor, but hiring managers really do pay attention to this. I always save my résumé as “Alexis Davis’ Resume” when I’m applying to anything. This way HR knows exactly which résumé is mine and there’s no confusion with the numerous files they will receive. “Resume”, “Alexis Resume Fall 2016” or “Alexis New Resume” all have their own share of issues. The first option doesn’t tell the hiring manager who I am, the second option shows that I didn’t bother editing my résumé for this position since it’s basically Summer 2017, and the third option is simply unnecessary because your résumé should always be in a state of improvement.

Your résumé should also always be saved as a PDF. This way it cannot be accidentally or maliciously edited by someone else. You also don’t want to save it as Word Doc, because the hiring manager could be on iOS and the formatting could be altered.

Say That You Have a Degree — Even If You’re About to Get It in a Few Weeks

I had a few May 2017 grads apply for the position I posted last month who marked that they did not have a Bachelor’s degree. A Bachelor’s is required for the job, so I could have easily moved past those applicants if I wasn’t going one by one. It’s not lying if you will have the degree by the time the position starts.

Have a Professional Email Address — And Check It

If you’re a soon-to-be grad, use a personal email address on your résumé just in case your undergraduate account gets cut off soon after you turn the tassel. That email address should also be professional and not referencing anything questionable. I’m not emailing for a job.

And a few more quick tips…

Always Follow Up, Even From a Phone Screen

If a hiring manager takes the time out of his or her day to speak to you about a position, it is mandatory to send a thank you email. Just because you didn’t get to meet yet doesn’t mean you can’t spend a few minutes to express your gratitude and further interest in the position. It goes a long way.

Put Positions in Past Tense If They’re Complete

If you have left a position, it should be in past tense on your résumé. This helps clear confusion at first glance about what you are doing now.

Always Check for Typos

Don’t get me started on people who were interested in the “roll” I had open.

Don’t Become Discouraged

I didn’t graduate from college with a job offer. Remember that good things come to those who wait. Keep applying, keep networking and keep editing your résumé. You will eventually get exactly what you deserve.

What did I forget y’all? Let me know in the comments!


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Alexis Davis

Written by // Social media obsessed millennial looking to record thoughts in more than 280 characters. #LexInTech #LexInTex

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