By Regina Kaza
Working at a staffing agency, I see a lot of resumes flow through my inbox. And while some CVs are perfectly polished and sometimes even unique, most repeat the classic mistakes schools and universities never taught us to avoid. It’s not our fault, most people learn to write a resume by Googling “how to write resume” and pasting their names on the first thing they find. What else are you supposed to do? We never learned.
But here’s the thing, you can have the most professionally designed resume on the planet but if it doesn’t have the key items your employer is looking for (contact info, work history, and references) it drops to the bottom of the pile. In today’s competitive job market that’s something you simply can’t risk. Resumes should be clear, informative, easy to read and highlight your accomplishments. To make yourself stand out from the rest, keep in mind these do’s and don’ts.
DO SHOWCASE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Have you ever heard the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have?" Well, that applies to your resume too. If you’re applying for a job in social media, make sure to include everything you’ve done that’s relevant to content creation, writing, digital marketing, and analytics. If you are applying for a leadership role, share organizations in which you've shined or even volunteer opportunities in which you led groups to success. Show yourself in the best light for the specific role you want not just a general overview of your work history.
DON’T LIST YOUR EDUCATION AT THE TOP
Despite the begrudging student debt telling us otherwise, getting a degree is not as valuable as it once was. In fact, it’s almost expected for candidates at most companies to have a degree. Of course you should include your degrees and certificates in your resume but save the top space for accomplishments that will make a great first impression and capture the hiring manager’s attention in the first 6 seconds.
DO INCLUDE REFERENCES
Always, always include references with their updated contact information in your resume. If you have a problem with an employer calling your reference impromptu, they’re not a real reference. References should be people who know you well, in a personal and professional capacity, and can talk you up at a moment’s notice.
DON’T SAY “UPON REQUEST”
Do not include a line under references saying “provided upon request.” If the company is requesting your resume as part of the application, consider that the request.
DO INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT INFO AND PORTFOLIO LINKS
This might sound like a simple one, but you would be surprised. Make sure your updated contact information is listed on your resume so the employer knows how to reach you to schedule an interview. Include your phone number, email address, social media handles if necessary along with links to your LinkedIn and portfolio. Recruiters sift through hundreds of resumes a week, don’t make them hunt this information down. Time is your biggest competition in the job hunting world.
DON’T INCLUDE YOUR PHOTO
I’ve heard some critics say photos on resumes make them more personal but I’m going to tell you don’t do it. A photo steals the attention from your accomplishments and can bring judgement and bias to your resume. Save yourself the risk and leave the headshot for your LinkedIn profile.
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