The do’s & don’ts of resume writing

Having a well-constructed resume can be the difference between getting an interview or not. Even if you are a highly qualified candidate, your resume is the first thing that recruiters and potential employers see. It is your first impression, if you will. Making a good first impression is key if you want even a chance at getting an interview for the job you want.

Resume building tips

Recruiters spend an average of 6 to 8 seconds looking over a resume before they decide if they want to continue or if the person is not who they are looking for. There are many important things to keep in mind when creating a resume. Of course, there are certain things that should always be included, but there are also some things that you don’t want to include when writing a resume. Not sure where to begin? Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing? Well, this post is going to clear some things up for you. Here are some professional resume tips.

In the world of resume writing, there are some specific do’s and don’ts that are essential to building the perfect resume for the job that you want. It is imperative to your future that you create a resume that you are proud of and that others would like to read. This list of resume do’s and don’ts is sure to help you build the perfect resume.

Do’s in resume writing:

List your responsibilities & your accomplishments!

This is an important “do” in the resume writing world. If you want to wow the recruiter and really stand out, then you should be sure to talk about what you accomplished in your past work. Give a little humble brag, if you will.

A recruiter wants to know how you exceeded expectations in the past and why you are better than the next guy. This is a great way to show them that you are the person for the job. Your resume will stand apart from the rest and be sure to grab the attention of the recruiter looking it over.

Use specific terminology & concise language

When reading resumes, recruiters want to see language that directly relates to the job you are applying for. There should also be detailed verbiage that explains your skill set in detail. Rather than using language such as “team-player” you could say something like “collaborated with a team of specialists to design a new software…”.

By giving detail, but not being too wordy, you are able to draw the attention of the recruiter to your pay attention to your accomplishments. It will help to also use key words from the job description. However, be careful not to overuse them.

Always tell the truth

This may seem like common knowledge, but you would be surprised at how many people think it is acceptable to tell 'white lies' on a resume. Wanting to sound good on paper is one thing, but lying to do so can create many problems in the future, both for you and your potential employer.

If you lie, even just a small stretching of the truth, it can easily come back to haunt you. Let’s say you lie about a certain experience or accomplishment. Then, in the future, the same thing is expected of you at your new place of employment and you are not qualified or do not know how to do it. Well, that can not only get you into trouble, but also your superior. It is always best to tell the truth.

Don'ts in resume writing:

Don’t make your resume too long

A good resume is rarely over two pages long. If you do not have that much experience, then one page is even better. You do not want to overwhelm the reader by handing them a five page resume. All your great experience will not be thoroughly reviewed and it is almost guaranteed to get you put into the 'no pile'.

A good resume is short and to the point. You don’t want to cut out any of your relevant experience, but you also don’t want the recruiter to have to sort through too many pages. If you are having trouble keeping your resume to two pages, then limit it to only the past 15 years. Many times, the jobs you had 20 years ago are not very relevant to the job you are applying for now.

Don’t use clichés

Again, vocabulary and language is important when writing a resume. It should attract the reader and give them specifics without being cliché. Avoiding terms like “creative”, “excellent communicator”, or “detail-oriented” and replacing them with more sophisticated and more specific words can really save your resume - a quick google search for synonyms or using Microsoft Word's synonym function will both suggest some great alternatives.

The recruiter is bound to roll their eyes and move on to the next resume if they are reading stereotypical resume wording as they have read thousands of others just like this. Be sure to be specific and use real examples. This dramatically increases your chances that your recruiter will be interested in what you have to say.

Don’t neglect the key words in the job description

This is important because it will give your resume the highest chance for success. Hiring managers are looking for specific people. They are looking for someone who is qualified for the job. If that is you, then make sure your resume reflects that.

Be sure that you read over the job description thoroughly and adapt your resume to meet those standards. If a recruiter sees these keywords in your resume, their attention is more likely to be grabbed and they will be highly motivated to continue reading.


Having a strong resume that is geared directly toward the job that you want is incredibly important. It can literally either get you the interview you want or make the interviewer pass right over you. It can be a bit nerve-wracking to turn in a resume, as it is typically the recruiter’s first impression of you. However, if you follow these tips for creating a resume, you are sure to get that interview.


  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn


Stay up to date on industry leading content