Resume Dos and Don’ts: What To Include and What to Omit

The secret behind a successful resume lies both in its content and how you present it. Of course, there’s always something to add or exclude, but what are the essential resume dos and don’ts, and what information should a resume always include? 

The best resume will always be tailored to the job position you’re applying for, but it should also be easy to read and clutter-free. This blog post will provide tips on what to include in your resume and the best way to organize it.

Basic Information

Start by adding your contact information at the top of the resume. This includes your full name, email address, and phone number. You can also add your website, LinkedIn profile, and home address. These details are vital and must be in a conspicuous place so that the potential employer can easily find them if they decide to contact you.

Dos

  • Include correct and up-to-date contact information.
  • Provide the preferred type of work (remote, hybrid, workplace attendance).

Don’ts

  • Don’t include contact information from your current job since it’s considered unprofessional.
  • Don’t write your private email. Consider creating a separate one for job applications if you don’t have one already.

Education

This section will help interviewers get a better idea of your academic background. If your education is directly relevant to the job or contains any preferable credentials, it may quickly set you apart from other applicants.

Dos

  • Choose the highest level of education you have, even if it’s only high school or a GED.
  • Add attended courses and classes, especially the ones for which you have a certificate.
  • Keep the education info at the top of your resume.

Don’ts

  • Don’t use false or misleading education information.
  • Don’t write a GPA if it’s too low or isn’t required in the job description.
  • Don’t include your high school information if you have a college diploma.

Resume Design

Your resume will be the first impression in the eyes of hiring managers. Therefore, the more organized and well-structured it is, the stronger the effect it will have. Online platforms, such as VisualCV, can help you create a professional-looking resume. Prepare and prioritize the most important aspects of your job history and skills so that they have the most spotlight in the document.

There are three standard resume formats — chronological, hybrid, and functional.

Chronological

This is the most common resume format. It highlights your past job experiences by presenting them in reverse chronological order, followed by the education and training sections. 

This type of resume is preferred in finance or accounting industries. However, if you have little or no experience, one of the other two formats might be a better choice.

Functional

This format starts with your education and skills sections, followed by your previous job positions. It may be a better choice for people without much work experience because it focuses on your academic background and strong points.

It’s advisable to use this resume when changing career paths, too. However, remember that it’s not designed to hide employment gaps.

Hybrid

This format’s outline highlights the qualifications relevant to the position you’re applying for, followed by the experience history in reverse chronological order.

This type of resume might be the best choice for recent graduates and the ones looking for entry-level work positions. Remember to avoid wordiness and include only the necessary information in the skills section.

Resume Outline

Make sure the whole text is readable and isn’t too long. Stick to one, maximum two fonts. Always select the basic, standard fonts unless you’re adapting your resume for a job in the field of typography. Use the “bold” function to highlight keywords and avoid capitalizing words.

Dos

Don’ts

  • Don’t include sentences that provide irrelevant information.
  • Don’t use unclear fonts.
  • Don’t use first-person pronouns.
  • Don’t make long sentences and avoid passive construction.

Resume Etiquette

Your text should sound polite, respectful, and positive. Avoid using photos or your physical characteristics unless you’re applying for a job where these details are relevant.

Dos

  • Name your resume with a full name. It makes it easier for the employer to find it in the database if needed.
  • Adapt it. Tailor your resume to each job application and make sure to use the company’s keywords.
  • Practice positivity. The goal of your resume should be to provide a positive first impression.
  • Be precise. Rather than utilizing an objective tone, use vivid, active words and phrases that are essential in your field.

Don’ts

  • Don’t use a photo unless necessary. Unless you’re applying for a position where appearance is a major factor, such as acting or modeling, never include a photograph. It may also be used for prejudice or discrimination and could detract reviewers from your professional status.
  • Don’t add unnecessary information. Avoid adding irrelevant details, such as your height, weight, or age. 
  • Don’t add negative experiences. Don’t list your reasons for leaving previous jobs, and don’t talk about aspects of the work you didn’t enjoy or weren’t very good at.
  • Don’t talk about personal beliefs. It’s not a good idea to include political or religious convictions, especially if they have nothing to do with the position.

Resume Syntax

Interviews may not be easy since an average job attracts many applicants. Recruiters are tired of reading about qualities such as “hard-working,” “great team player,” or “keen on details.” Be wary of the industry jargon and use strong verbs and phrases that aren’t overused.

You can raise your chances of receiving an interview call by making your writing more compelling and engaging. For example, try to make your sentences sound more intelligent and use different constructions. Also, use adverbs and conjunctions to connect your sentences and improve the overall readability.

Resume Dos and Don’ts — Conclusion

There are many things you should pay attention to when writing a resume, but the most important one may be precision. Highlight your skills and accomplishments, and remember to be truthful, even when you can’t add much or any previous experiences to your resume. Also, avoid discussing any negative experiences you might have had in your previous roles.

Read more: Free Resume Builders

Any successful resume includes the use of active verbs, proper punctuation, and a professional vocabulary. Also, adjusting your resume for each application can significantly increase your chances of landing the job. Finally, always provide your contact information at the top and ensure that the overall format looks professional.

FAQ on Dos and Don’ts for Resumes