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The Dos and Don’ts of Resume Writing Including Common Mistakes to Avoid

dos and donts of resume writing

It is not uncommon for many applicants to send their resumes to several firms for available positions, but all of their applications vanish into thin air. Don’t be hasty to discount your credentials or worth if you are one of the applicants whose applications disappear without a trace or if you are not shortlisted for the initial round of interviews. We know you’re competent and capable of landing an interview and securing the job you seek. So, “what’s the problem?” you wonder – it’s most likely mistakes in your resume. Maybe it’s time to give your resume a much-needed makeover.

While many resume or CV mistakes may not seem like a substantial issue at the moment, they can significantly reduce your chances of being offered the job. As you rewrite and modify your resume, bear in mind the following list of Dos and Don’ts tips that might come in handy and help you bag your desired job –

Dos of Resume Writing

  • Do highlight relevant experience

Your resume should be targeted and tailor-made for each individual job you apply for. Every job requires a certain set of skills and experiences necessary to perform the job properly and you need to ensure that your resume showcases these relevant skills and experiences that will improve your chances of securing an interview with the firm. Highlighting the relevant skills, competencies, experiences, and accomplishments make it easier for the recruiter/employer to realize you are the right person for the job.

For example, you may have experience sourcing candidates from various unique employment portals such as JobForHer or FreshersWorld. Put emphasis on these skills in your experience section on your CV while applying for a Recruitment position in a reputed firm.

  • Do show soft skills through quantifiable techniques

Make certain that each bullet point on your resume refers to a quality the company is seeking in an ideal candidate for the job. Showcase your excellent managerial abilities with the assistance of facts and stats. For instance, you might include a sentence like, “initiated and carried out a new program independently to prevent staff burnout resulting in a stress-free job environment and increased productivity by 12%”, instead of merely stating “skilled manager” or “possess excellent managerial skills” on your resume.

  • Do highlight personal achievements

If you have done something incredible or noteworthy in your personal life that could demonstrate your skills and competencies, then you should definitely add them on your CV. For instance, you planned and organized a fundraiser for the nearby animal shelter which shows your empathetic nature as well as your organizational skills.

  • Do include a profile summary

A profile summary is a statement that allows you to highlight your knowledge, experience, and exceptional set of skills that separate you from the crowd and enable you to obtain the desired role. This portion of the resume is ideal for candidates who possess years of experience in a similar field.

  • Do use a unique set of verbs

Instead of using verbs that the hiring managers are bored of reading, try adding compelling action verbs to your resume such as – “administered”, “revitalized”, “amplified”, “oversaw”, “formalized”, “incorporated”, “pioneered”, “yielded”, “overhauled”, and many more.

  • Do have a one-page resume

Hiring managers or recruiters have several resume s to go through for each vacant position, thus it is highly recommended that you create a one-page resume that is concise, informative, and unique enough to get you an interview.

  • Do include valid contact information

If you want to receive the much-awaited call for an interview for your dream job, make sure to mention the correct contact information on your CV. Even though this is a fundamental component of a CV, many people still get it wrong. Contact information includes phone number, email address, and home address. Also, double-check this section to ensure that you added your personal contact number and personal email ID instead of your current company’s phone number and work email address.

  • Do proofread resume

Double-check your resume for grammatical and spelling errors. These may seem like minor mistakes, but they might give the employer/recruiter a negative impression of you.

  • Do save and send resume in PDF

When sending a word file of your resume, there is a high possibility that the formatting will be messed up when the employer opens the file. Therefore, it is safe to save and later, send the resume as a PDF.

Don’ts of Resume Writing

  • Don’t use exact phrases used in the job description

Avoid using exact terms from the job description. For example, if the firm’s job description includes the phrase “technical recruitment expertise,” make sure your skills or experience section does not include the phrase “possess technical recruitment expertise.” Instead, devise a new way to demonstrate these abilities by mentioning numerous IT roles that you have sourced and recruited for, such as Magento developer, Network engineer, Flutter developer, and so on.

  • Don’t include obvious skills

Today, there are some skills that are considered mandatory for all jobs in any industry. Examples include having a basic grasp of all Microsoft Office applications (especially MS Word and MS Excel) or knowing how to use various emailing platforms, and so on and so forth. These are obvious skills that the applicant must possess, thus mentioning them on the CV is superfluous. Your resume must be filled with details that are concise, relevant, and allow you to stand out from the competition.

  • Don’t oversell unnecessary achievements/experiences

Strictly avoid adding irrelevant high school or college achievements/experiences such as (i) securing 1st place in a handwriting competition, (ii) babysitting neighbor’s children, or (iii) dog walking experience. These are unnecessary details that won’t help you land an interview with a reputed organization.

  • Don’t add false information

Honesty is the best policy. It is strongly advised not to lie about anything on your resume because sooner or later the truth does come out. Even if it doesn’t, your lies could get you into trouble and might cost you your job as well as your reputation. For instance, stating “proficient in the Bengali language” on your CV seems like a harmless lie but imagine being appointed the lead for a particular project based on this skill because the client is a Bengali – what then? Learning Bengali overnight seems impossible, don’t you think?

  • Don’t use cliché terms

Employers are exhausted reading cliché terms like – “hard-working”, “team player”, result-oriented”, “go-getter”, “detail-oriented”, etc. They would much rather have candidates explain in detail what makes them a go-getter or what specific actions they took to demonstrate that they are a team player.

  • Don’t use negative statements

It’s generally not a good idea to use negative phrases to support your accomplishments. Make certain to utilize affirmative or positive language when highlighting your achievements or problem-solving abilities. For instance, write “designed and developed a solution to make the marketing department’s communication smooth and efficient” rather than stating, “resolved a major communication problem prevalent in the marketing department.”

  • Don’t use passive voice sentences

The content of your resume is lengthened by passive voice phrases, although it is not enhanced in the manner you seem to expect. Use active voice instead of passive voice while including vital information on your CV. For instance, rather than writing, “XYZ project was successfully carried out by me”, you should write, “Independently administered XYZ project.” It is short and easy to understand for the hiring manager.

  • Don’t cram the resume

The hiring manager judges the applicant based on his/her resume so make sure you include only the necessary and relevant information. Don’t try to squeeze in details about skills or experiences that are utterly irrelevant. The content length of vital information must be simple, brief, and apt.

  • Don’t overdo the text formatting

Use text formatting – bold, italics, caps, etc. only to highlight the most necessary and relevant information. For example, for the names of your former and present companies, as well as your job titles, you can utilize the bold and/or underline formatting features.

Conclusively, by just following these easy dos and don’ts, you may be able to write a resume that is simple, precise, and succinct, which will wow the recruiters and help you land your perfect job.