How NOT to Write a Resume

So we’re at a point in our lives where most of us have worked at least some kind of job. We’re also all most likely going to be looking for a job within the next one to four years. It’s standard for hiring managers to ask for resumes with applications. There are a lot of articles out there on how to write a good resume; which font size to use, how to format the page, and so on. Today I’m going to give you a few points on how not to write a resume.

  1. Don’t mention high \school: You’re looking for a big-kid job, and big-kid employers care a lot more about the volunteer work that you did at the homeless shelter your second year of college than they do about your hostessing job you held all of high school. Not only is high school employment usually irrelevant, but it also just takes up a lot of space that could be better dedicated to more current job experience, as well as extracurriculars and your involvement beyond employment.
  2. Don’t write a novel: Make sure to keep your resume short. Your future employers are likely very busy and probably have a lot of resumes to look through. I hate to break it to you, but they just aren’t going to look past the first (maybe second) page. So what’s the point of having a long resume then? There isn’t any. Keeping your resume short will not only insure that your possible employer sees all of the important facts, but it also shows that you are organized in your writing style.
  3. Don’t be humble. Resumes are all about selling yourself; you talk about your best attributes in your profile statement, your most impressive, relevant jobs in the related experience section, and your most prominent successes under those jobs. By being shy about your experience you are going to sell yourself short. This doesn’t mean that you should spend your whole resume bragging, but don’t be afraid to make yourself look good.
  4. Don’t write in the present first person: I know, it’s impossible to not talk about yourself in the first person when you’re as great as you are, but this is not an autobiography. Don’t be creepy and talk about yourself in the third person either though. Instead avoid the use of pronouns and names in your sentences. It is also important that you write in the past tense unless the job is current, but remain constant throughout. For example: → “Gained expertise in the restaurant business through interning at multiple restaurants across the Fargo-Moorhead area” sounds a lot better than “I intern at multiple restaurants across the Fargo-Moorhead area to gain expertise in the restaurant business.”
  5. Don’t use a template: Many pre-created templates have wonky fonts, goofy formatting, and unnecessary columns. Creating your own format (or following the one that we have posted on Handshake) will simplify your resume and actually make it look a lot more professional and organized. Another bonus is that by creating and naming your own categories, you will be able to make them your own, giving your resume personality that it wouldn’t otherwise have.

While there is no one right or wrong way on how to write your resume, following these tips will help you get started. For more information, visit the Articles tab on Handshake or come into the Career Center.

Written by Career Peer Nicky

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