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"Getting the job you want is 70% presentation and only 30% skill and ability.  I know the 'must-do's and the never do's' in creating a great resume that stands out.  Do you? 

Resume Do's and Don'ts

Keep your resume to one page whenever possible. Your resume should be the number of pages you think the reader will read. That's usually one page.

Spell check and review your resume for perfect grammar. no typo's and no grammatical errors. Proofread again and again.

Always use a chronological resume.  Most employers want to see your work experience in order starting with the most recent on top. Functional type resumes are not usually a good idea.

Use a serif font like Times New Roman for resumes that will be printed and use a sans serif font like Arial, for resumes that will be viewed electronically.

Stick with one font for the entire resume. Don't mix up the fonts, it's difficult to read. Whatever font you choose, be sure to use lots of white space and wide margins when possible. Your resume should not look too crowded.

Don't rely on resume templates with fancy graphics in the corner and throughout the page.  These "canned" resumes can be spotted right away.  Start from scratch.  Same with cover letters.

Rome wasn't built in a day and your resume won't be, either.  Think of your resume as an on-going project that you update all year long.

Don't list your dates of graduation.  List the name of the school you attended, but listing the dates may not always be helpful, especially if you achieved your degrees more than ten years ago.

Only list affiliations and offices held within organizations if they are relevant.

Volunteerism should be listed on your resume if it shows a certain level of commitment, if they relate to the job or if they support the job target.

Personal information like age, marital status, familial status, health, disabilities, etc. should never be listed on your resume unless you are applying for a position outside the United States, then date of birth, age, place of birth, marital status, citizenship and passport information should be included.

Employers know that you will be able to provide references.  Do not use the phrase "references available upon request."   This is old and it wastes valuable space.

Your employment history should be in reverse chronological order on a combination/targeted resume.  Your combination resume should be keyword rich and feature a qualifications section followed by your employment history.

Margins on your resume should be no less than at least one half inch.

Use one design graphic sparingly.  I have heard that we should dress our resumes up in a suit, not a tuxedo.  When in doubt, leave it out.

Be consistent in your spacing, lines, bullets, white space, headings, type size, etc. 

When including a list (including your accomplishments), use bullet points and not asterisks or dashes.

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I was doing all the wrong things with  my resume.  You fixed it for me and showed me how to update it myself.  You gave me some great tips.  Thanks!  - Patty F.

Resume writing, design, development and interview coaching