Top 10 Resume Dos and Don'ts: The Ultimate Guide To Writing A Resume That Makes You More

Top 10 Resume Dos and Don'ts: The Ultimate Guide To Writing A Resume That Makes You More

Over the past decade, websites like have made finding and applying to open positions easier than ever. Unfortunately, the Internet hasn’t made writing a resume much less difficult. Countless articles with conflicting tips have made creating this crucial document overly complicated. To simplify the resume writing process, we compiled a list of actionable advice that you can use to improve your resume right now. So follow these Top 10 Resume Dos and Don’ts. Then take your new resume and apply to a higher paying job today.

5 Resume Dos

1. Do Be Concise

Hiring managers have better things to do than wade through Harry Potter-length biographies. Make your resume succinct and easy to read by avoiding unnecessarily big words and lengthy sentences. According to Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, you should have no more than one page of resume for every 10 years of work experience. For most people, that means the one page resume rule is true. So choose each word on your one-page resume wisely.

A good rule of thumb is one page of resume for every 10 years of work experience.Laszlo Bock
Senior VP, People Operations

Pro Tip: To make sure your one-page resume is easy on the eyes, keep cutting fluff until you can maintain a legible font size and adequate white space without spilling over to a second page.

2. Do Highlight Your Most Relevant Experiences

Keeping in line with being precise, your resume should not outline every job you’ve ever held. Create a resume tailored to each position you apply for, showcasing your specific skills, experience, and accomplishments that make you the perfect fit for that role.

3. Do Include Personal Accomplishments

Run an Ironman? Climb Peak Seven? Not get booed off stage at The Apollo? These accomplishments will not only help hiring managers remember you, but they also show an unwavering bravery, steadfast commitment, and a work ethic that could translate to the job at hand.

Pro Tip: A “Skills” or “Summary” section is a great place to include personal accomplishments. Remember to be brief, but you should use this space to illustrate the relevancy of that accomplishment to your career path.

4. Do Use a Summary Statement

As outlined in the previous Pro Tip, a “Summary” section works well when adding personal accomplishments. This section is also an ideal way to tie years of experience into a common theme, making sense of even the most eclectic professional background.

5. Do Include Your Contact Info

As obvious as it sounds, an alarmingly high number of applicants forget to do this. Include your name, email, phone number, and address in an easy to find space at the top of your resume. Pamela Skillings, co-founder of Big Interview, stresses the importance of making sure the contact information is current as well. An employer can’t call you with a job offer if all they have is your old, disconnected cellphone number.

If you’ve moved or changed phone numbers, make sure that your phone number, address and e-mail information is up to date.Pamela Skillings
Co-Founder, Interview Coach
Big Interview

5 Resume Don'ts

1. Don't Lie

Seriously. Don’t. Lying on a resume is so obviously wrong that we shouldn’t have to include it here. Don’t exaggerate, intentionally create ambiguity, or put anything in your resume that isn’t 100% true. If you went to a seminar at Princeton, don’t say you attended there. If you were three credits short of a degree, don’t say you have a bachelor’s. Manipulating facts and overstating occupational roles are the same as telling flat out lies. According to Money magazine, 56% of hiring managers have caught a candidate lying on a resume. Don’t let yourself be one of them.

2. Don’t Hide Gaps

It’s okay to cover small gaps of unemployment by stating years at a job and omitting the months. But if we weren’t clear enough in the tip above, don’t lie about periods that you were out of work. Instead, mention what you were doing during that time, whether it was community service or traveling the world.

3. Don’t Be Afraid If You Lack Relevant Experience

If you’re switching industries or are just out of college, relevant experience may be hard to come by. But if you dig deep into your background and get creative (without lying), you’ll be surprised how much your side projects, coursework, and volunteering may apply to the job you want.

Pro Tip: If you truly lack relevant experience, then go out and create some. Want to be a graphic designer? Make a poster for a local charity. Want to be a project manager? Organize an event for a non-profit.

4. Don’t Send Your Resume as a Word Document

You spent hours formatting your resume, so make sure the employer sees it as you intended. By sending your resume as a PDF, it’s guaranteed to stay in the proper format. Another benefit of the PDF is that it’s much less likely to have issues opening like some versions of Word documents can.

5. Don’t Send Your Resume With Typos

Before you send your resume to a potential employer, spellcheck and proof read it multiple times. Then have friends and family proof it as well. Not only is it likely that Word will miss some errors, but studies have found that it’s particularly difficult for people to proofread their own writing. That’s why it’s imperative that you have at least one other person thoroughly read your resume.

Resume Writing Recap


1. Be Concise

2. Highlight Your Most Relevant Experiences

3. Include Personal Accomplishments

4. Use a Summary Statement

5. Include Your Contact Info


1. Lie

2. Hide Gaps

3. Be Afraid If You Lack Experience

4. Send Your Resume As a Word Document

5. Send Your Resume With Typos

The Next Step Towards A Higher Paying Job

Now that you know the Top 10 Resume Dos and Don’ts, put them to use. Polish up your resume. Then click here to apply to hundreds of high paying jobs in your area.

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