The Executive Candidate Guide: Do’s and Don’ts When Composing a Resume

Are you applying for several roles, needing help to catch a decent position, or waiting to hear back from hiring managers? Here are some simple yet helpful reminders of what you should and shouldn’t do when writing a resume.

When looking for an employment opportunity, keep in mind that your resume is everything!

Check for misspelled words and improper grammar; it is easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to spot misspelled words or poor grammar in a resume. Do not use the word “I” or other first-person pronouns when writing your resume.

You are not required to mention your GPA, complete address, or the phrase “References available upon request” on your resume. It will not determine whether you will obtain your dream job. If the question presents itself, you can respond verbally.

If you cannot remember the exact dates of when you started or ended a position, you can format your resume with only the year. That is perfectly fine too! When describing your past experience, use the past tense; for your current position(s), use the present tense. In addition, if you utilize bullet points on your resume, be sure all the bullet points are aligned and formatted appropriately.

We recommend minimizing the total number of pages as recruiters will likely only look at the first two pages of your resume, as that is your most recent experience. Specifically, within the past 5-10 years, sometimes 15-20 years, depending on the level of job you are applying for. Highlighting your key contributions and skills versus writing down every job duty will help the recruiter obtain a high-level overview of your experience.

Creating your brand and personal color scheme will elevate the look of your resume. Most applicant tracking systems (ATS) are advanced enough to read and upload your resume as-is into their system. The advice to keep your resume simple with Times New Roman font, is outdated. However, try not to use too many graphics, graphs, infographics, etc., unless they are a significant value add to the overall contribution of your resume.

When writing your resume, remember this is your entire professional history written into complex summaries on a piece of paper. Be authentic and genuine with your words and accomplishments; you will surely land your next opportunity!

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