Resume Do’s and Dont’s

For more than 20 years, Vertex recruiters have gained valuable insight and experience reviewing resumes. I have seen the good, the bad, and ugly of resume-writing change significantly throughout the years.

Writing a resume is not just about compiling a long list of work experience, education, and skills onto a single page. Your resume is often a company’s first look into how you market yourself. I’ve seen a lot of resumes and I carefully pick through them to understand as much as I can about potential candidates. A well-organized resume may look nice, but if you are not including relevant information, it’s for nothing.  As Recruiting Manager at Vertex, I pride myself on finding the best fit for our clients.

Whether you are applying for a job, updating your resume for the future, or have never attempted to write one, here are 25 resume-writing pet peeves along with tips to help you write the strongest resume possible.

  1. Do not use ALL CAPS.
  2. Avoid formatting that’s too fancy, with photos and flashy elements. Keep it simple.
  3. Write a clear professional summary that avoids packing too much information – or omitting a professional summary all together.
  4. Strike the right balance on position details. Include relevant information, but don’t overload.
  5. Not including contact information on your resume will land you in the “pass” pile.
  6. Adhere to a good length that’s no longer than seven pages, or two pages for administrative positions.
  7. Don’t use personal pronouns (I, my, me).
  8. Don’t use expressions like “Duties included, Responsibilities included, or Responsible for.” That is job-description language, not accomplishments-oriented resume language that sells what you did.
  9. Don’t list your high school.
  10. Don’t list graduation dates older than 1999.
  11. Don’t list your street address.
  12. If you include a LinkedIn profile link, make sure it works.
  13. Do not write the same responsibilities for every job.
  14. Grammatical errors will not do you any favors.
  15. Spelling errors. Don’t make them and pay extra attention to correctly spelling the name of the company you work for.
  16. Explain any gaps over six months.
  17. Do not use random bold words.
  18. Include your current job title.
  19. Ensure you have no overlapping dates on your work history.
  20. Include your full last name, not just the first letter of your last name.
  21. Include your academic institution or major field of study under Education.
  22. Your Professional Summary should not be word-for-word the same as the body of the resume.
  23. If your current position date still says “Present,” you should still be working there.
  24. Position dates should include month and year.
  25. Include a description of your company only if it’s not recognizable. Everyone knows what Microsoft does.

I hope this list helps you get a better understanding of what top-notch recruiters look for when reviewing resumes. A strong resume is the backbone of your job hunt. These guidelines can help set you on a path of confidence as you advance your career.

Good Luck!

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An assertive, energetic professional, Natalie brings an innate ability to face challenges with creativity and courage. Her role as Recruiting Team Manager is ever changing. She wears many hats including overseeing projects, strategizing, business development, and client relations. When she’s not working, Natalie enjoys exercising and spending time with her family.

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Natalie Reffner

People Leader, Talent Strategy
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