Resumé Do’s and Dont’s

How to Avoid getting “110’ed”

Whether you’re putting your first real CV together or revising it for a specific job there’s almost always room for improvement. The sad reality is despite the countless resources available online there are still far too many terrible resume’s floating around. I like to imagine these end up being burned as fuel for Kanye West’s yacht while he revels in the failure of others. Here are some simple tips for ensuring your resume portrays you as an amateur professional, not a professional amateur. Don’t be Kanye’s boat fuel.

DO: Attach a cover letter written specifically for the job you’re applying for.

DO NOT: Attach a generic summary of your resume.

If the job you’re applying for is one for which a cover letter is expected, do it right. A sub-par cover letter can put a kibosh on even the most pristine resume. Take your time and be specific. A cover letter should be the “why” to your resume’s “what”. Outline the skills and experiences you’ve acquired through your past work history and how they are directly relevant for the position you’re seeking. Above all your cover letter should tell the reader WHY they should hire you. As you write it, imagine your potential employer is a five year old who keeps asking “why?” over and over again until your answer is as direct and concise as possible. Then imagine them playing trucks with the rest of the company executives because trucks are fun.

DO: Print your resume and cover letter on plain white paper or light card stock.

DO NOT: Add unnecessary colour or other gimmicks.

“But I want my resume to stand out!” Great. Make it stand out on its own merit. Gimmicks like coloured paper, text, or pictures are not only unprofessional, they suggest to potential employers that you’re attempting to compensate for a poor resume with visual appeal. You should be trying to convey that you are the best person for the job, not the brightest piece of paper in their filing cabinet. Personality is great, but save it for the interview.

DO: Include relevant experience and education in your resume.

DO NOT: Include ALL experience and education in your resume.

Your resume should have two pages: one for experience and one for references. Employers are not stupid. They know when sawdust is being added to make the hamburger meat go further. Be concise and direct, and include only past experience and education that is actually applicable to the job for which you’re applying. If you find yourself with too much relevant information for one page, high five! Narrow it down to the most pertinent. If you’re struggling to fill a page try fleshing out your previous positions by describing your responsibilities at each one. DO NOT under ANY circumstances include something like “Hobbies and Interests” to fill space. On that note you can probably leave “Objective” off as well. You’re applying for a job because you want a job. Boom.

 

DO: Have someone else proof your resume for spelling, grammar, word choice, and formatting.

DO NOT: Give any potential employer a resume with errors. 

Many employers will toss out a resume the second they catch a mistake. At face value this may seem a tad superficial, but it makes a lot of sense. At this point your two pieces of paper are really all a potential employer has to judge you on. A resume with any technical flaws suggests immediately that you are lazy, stupid, careless, or some combination of the three. Take your time crafting it and have someone else look it over to make sure it’s technically flawless. If you’re mass producing a generic resume (would not recommend) and catch an error after printing off a hundred copies, fix it and print a hundred more.