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Do's and Don'ts in Writing a Perfect Resume

Updated on January 16, 2018
JR Cuevas profile image

Ray is a civil engineering student and former student journalist. He loves to write about education, technology, and lifestyle.

You need a resume to obtain an interview, NOT a job

Resume is sometimes called the 'CV' or curriculum vitae which means 'life story'. Resume is the material that you provide to show your qualifications in an accurate way. It summarizes your education, skills, knowledge, and experiences to the employers so it should be carefully prepared. It is really critical in making a resume since it is the one speaking to the employer for you. It is the one that gets you the interview. Flawless resume means a big chance in getting the job.

There are a lot of things to remember and to avoid when it comes to creating a resume.It's not jut about presenting information and details about you, the appearance of the resume is also considered. Always be reminded that you are going to submit your qualifications to professionals. They are really selective when it comes to the applicants and they do love rejecting applicants. They only read resumes that meet the requirements and qualifications they are looking for.


Here are the do's and don'ts in resume writing. Follow each to be able to produce a flawless resume that your employer or hiring manager will surely loved.

Do's in Resume Writing!

1. Use 8 ½ x 11 High Quality, White Paper

The first one to consider in terms of appearance is the size and quality of the paper you'll use in your resume. Use an 8.5 x 11 high quality white paper. This size of paper is referred to as the "short size paper"so it's easy to look for since it's abundant in bookstores and all other convenience stores nearby. Make sure that you choose a high-quality paper to prevent easy damages and creases that it might cause a decrease in your chances and make your resume not a 100% presentable to the hiring manager or employer. Remember that your resume will reflect to you as an applicant so avoid using damaged paper or low-quality paper.

2. Use Resume Designs That Can Get Attention

Always remember that you're not the only applicant, there may be hundreds or thousands applying for the same position. Make sure you use resume designs that can get the attention of the hiring manager or employer. You may use modern, professional or artistic resume designs. Also, aside from creating a catchy resume, always consider an organized and neat resume. You might forget that resume should always be easy to read and understand. It is a challenge now on how you'll be able to balance and create both an organized and well-designed resume.

But, worry no more. In fact, there are already available resume templates on the internet that you can use. Some are free and some requires you to pay. You now can choose the design you want. You just have to input all the information according to the formatted resume design.

Catchy Resume
Catchy Resume | Source

3. Consistency in Font and Format

Be consistent with the appearance of your text. Show the consistency of your font style and font size. According to sources, the best font size and style to use is 12 points, Times New Roman for content information and 14 to 16 points for name and headings. But then, sometimes it's up to you depending on what font style you use since the size of the text changes depending upon the font style. Make sure that your font is universally readable. Choose a standard and professional typeface recommended by most hiring managers.

Font Styles Preferred by Most Hiring Managers

  • Times New Roman
  • Courier
  • Palatino
  • Calibri
  • Georgia
  • Arial
  • Verdana
  • Lucida Sans

4. Use Keywords From Advertisements

One of the tactical things to do in writing your resume is to analyze the job advertisement for the job you're applying for. Grasp every word in the advertisement and apply it to your resume. Here, you must identify keywords from the advertisement that you can apply to your resume. Surely, you'll be perfect for what you're applying for. One thing to remember, do not be too desperate and commit lies. Make sure that every keyword you put to your resume applies to you.

5. Limit Your Resume to One Page

Do you know how long it takes for a hiring manager to review a resume? Well it's 15-20 seconds minimum and 45 seconds maximum. It's incredibly fast, right? That is why limiting your resume to one page is very critical. Unless you have a lot of experiences that are very relevant to the position you're applying for. Then, you can go for two pages. But then again, one page is the recommended number of pages for a resume.

6. List Your Technical Knowledge First

You should always remember that skills and technical knowledge play a big part in a job application. To be a standout, you have to showcase your technical knowledge first in your resume. Technical knowledge in the beginning should be organize and clear for your employer to read.

7. List Your Qualifications From Most to Least Relevant

List your qualifications in order of relevance, from most to least. List all those truly relevant to the job you're applying for. Only list your degree or education if and only if they are relevant to the job. Don't go far back in your work history as well. About up to 15 years ago is enough. Unless otherwise your greatest and most relevant experience is from farther back.

8. Quantifying Your Experiences

If possible, it is better if you'll quantify your experiences. What do I mean by that? You can cite numerical figures. Remember that numbers are concise. You can include % or $ numerical values. You can include something like code written or debugged, number of machines fixed, the amount of money you earned in a single transaction with your client, and number of clients served. These things show progress of your career and pride yourself as a determined and hardworking person. These accomplishments reflect to you as an applicant and serve as your key to the job you're applying for.


  • Hosted a large networking event, where I helped call and invite all the attendees.
  • Worked with a club board to plan our largest networking event ever, personally recruited over 45 organizations who attended the event.

9. Use Short and Concise Sentences

Always keep your resume short and concise. Just write the important words or facts that are relevant to what you're applying for and are easy to read. Eliminate lengthy descriptions that it would only make the hiring manager bored. Also, eliminate the experiences or projects which you were only a part. Focus on experiences that you played a really big part.

10. Begin Sentences with Action Verbs

Mighty rule in resume writing is to always begin sentences with action verbs. By this, you are portraying yourself to be an active professional, the one who uses his/her brain and accomplish things successfully. Use past tense in your resume even to your current position to avoid confusion.

11. Use "PAR" Statements

What does PAR stands for? PAR stands for "Problem-Action-Results". This is the best way to impress your employer or hiring manager. First you have to state the problem that existed in your previous workplaces or previous companies, then you describe what solution you applied to those problems and how you got involved to the solving process. and finally point out the results if successful or not.

12. Proofread Your Resume

Proofread your resume and right after, let your friend review your resume. Trust your friend in proofreading your resume to see if common errors like typographical and grammatical errors are committed. Your resume should never go with errors, unusual punctuation and inconsistent capitalization. Remember, you need a flawless resume.

Don'ts in Resume Writing

1. Avoid Typographical and Grammatical Errors

Typographical and Grammatical errors are cardinal sins in resume writing. According to studies, 45% of executives said they threw out resumes with just one typographical error and another 35% discarded resumes with two typographical errors. So, errors play a big part in resume writing. You should not commit any of those to be able to get a bigger chance on the job you're applying for. As much as possible, proofread your resume and let others review it too. Maybe letting professionals proofread your resume is better.

Corrections to Grammatical Errors in Resume
Corrections to Grammatical Errors in Resume | Source

2. Avoid Using Abbreviations and Acronyms

Always avoid placing abbreviations and acronyms in your resume. Your hiring manager might not know the specific organization or event you attended if you'll just use an acronym of it. This will cause you a decrease in chances of getting the job. Learn to spell out each and every word in your resume to somehow educate the hiring manager of some unfamiliar words or names to him/her.

3. Avoid Including Personal Information

Another important rule in resume writing is to not include personal information. Be a professional and avoid including Government ID Numbers, age, sex, height, marital status and sometimes the references in your resume. These things would not help you get the job. These are the unnecessary information that others usually include.

4. Minimize the Use of Articles

Always minimize the use of articles 'a', 'an', and 'the'. Just as much as you want to be professional then learn to minimize articles. If you can, avoid. Also, never use "I" in your resume.

5. Do Not Clutter Unimportant and Irrelevant Information

Do not clutter or put nonessential information in your resume. Remember that you need to fit it all in one page. Eliminate all those nonsense and irrelevant information in relation to the job you're applying for. Remember that resumes are reviewed less tham a minute, so keep everything simple, concise, and straightforward.

6. Avoid Folding and Crumpling Your Resume

Of course you don't want to pass a crumpled resume, don't you? Always make sure you take good care of your resume. Avoid crumpling or folding it to make it presentable. You might want to use a resume holder portfolio. You may buy it in amazon. Click the image below.

7. Do Not Use New Versions of MS Word

If the resume is to be passed online, save it in the format of MS Word 2003-2007. Not all organizations or companies have newer versions of MS Word and they might not tell you why your resume won't download. So better if to save it in older versions or much better if in a pdf version. Also, make sure that your filename is presentable since it is visible once you pass your resume online. Example is "CuevasResume".

Remember That Your Are Your Resume

Error free
Attention to detail
Professional Appearance
Careful and Competent

© 2018 PellucidRay


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