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Resume Do's & Don'ts

A resume is an opportunity to present yourself as a good fit for the position you desire. If your resume effectively highlights skills and experiences that are relevant to the posted job description, you are more likely to be invited to participate in a face-to-face interview. It’s important to think of resumes as living documents. As you grow and change, your resume should grow and change too. Likewise, if you are seeking different types of positions, you may need multiple resumes to reflect your most applicable abilities. Resumes are typically made up of a series of sections such as education, honors and awards, experiences, and special skills. Arguably, the experiences section of a resume is the most important. Jobs, volunteer work, projects, and other activities that allowed you to develop pertinent skills are all potentially appropriate experiences. When writing descriptions of your experiences, consider questions like: Who did this work? What was the work about? Why and how did you do the work? What was the outcome after you completed the work? See below for an example as well as a host of resume tips.

  • DO make sure your formatting is consistent
  • DO make use of bolding, italics, underlining, and capitalization to strategically accentuate certain parts of your resume such as headers. However, the majority of your text should be plain
  • DO incorporate your contact information including your name, address, phone number, and email
  • DO include any leadership roles you’ve held
  • DO make sure you’re specific. What is the name of the award you received? Are you proficient in conversational Spanish or fluent in the language?
  • DO make use of phrases rather than complete sentences
  • DO use a professional font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Garamond
  • DO use bullet points to organize descriptions
  • DON’T falsify any information. Providing inaccurate materials can have serious consequences
  • DON’T let your resume become too lengthy. Try not to exceed more than two pages
  • DON’T miss spelling errors and other silly mistakes. Ask a friend, mentor, or family member to read your resume and offer input
  • DON’T use a form template to construct your resume. Everyone has unique work and educational experiences. Let your resume reflect your individuality
  • DON’T overuse first person pronouns like “I” and “my”

Partly adapted from the University of Richmond Alumni & Career Services' resume resources

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