Resume Dos and Don'ts

Nothing can eliminate you from consideration for a job as quickly as an unprofessional résumé.

Avoid these NO-NOs.

Spelling Errors and Other Typos

It is extremely important to have ZERO spelling errors and typos on your résumé (and cover letter). Use a spellchecker, and have at least two other people proofread your résumé. Same goes for spacing and grammar.

Graphics and Pictures

Hiring managers want clean, uncluttered, concise résumés. Provide information that will show off your skills, experience, and education—nothing more. No bright colors, graphics, and unusual fonts. If you are applying for a position that demands creativity (e.g., graphic artist, web designer, etc.), offer to show employers your portfolio.

Excessive Length

Keep your résumé to one or two pages. Leave a little mystery for the interview—you want to have things to talk about, right? On a two-page résumé, put your most relevant experience high on the first page to get the employer’s attention.

Personal Characteristics

No vital statistics are to appear on your résumé. Employers generally do not need to know personal things about you, your life, and your body. Do not include your age, height, weight, marital status, religious activities, and political beliefs. Some people continue to discriminate against job seekers; do not provide the ammunition. Double check your volunteer work and memberships for personally revealing information.

Vague Statements

Your résumé is your chance to shine. Pick your favorite specific accomplishments, skills, and experiences relevant to the position. Use statistics when possible and appropriate.

Possessive Pronouns and First Person “I”

We get to take a break from writing complete sentences when we create our résumés! No need for “I,” “me,” “my,” “our,” “mine,” etc. It is understood that your résumé is about you.


Save space by removing articles, (“a,” “an,” “the”) providing the statement is easy to understand. For example: “Helped the customers order the merchandise” changes to “Helped customers order merchandise.”

“Was Responsible For…”

If you can avoid using this passive statement, do it! There are plenty of action verbs available that can replace this statement and make your résumé stronger. If you were “responsible for creation of the department webpage,” write “Created and maintained company webpage” and provide the web address!

Fibs, Lies, and Other Truth-Stretchers

Don’t waste the employer’s time or yours with dishonesty. Hiring managers DO check the information you provide.