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.
- Do not use ALL CAPS.
- Avoid formatting that’s too fancy, with photos and flashy elements. Keep it simple.
- Write a clear professional summary that avoids packing too much information – or omitting a professional summary all together.
- Strike the right balance on position details. Include relevant information, but don’t overload.
- Not including contact information on your resume will land you in the “pass” pile.
- Adhere to a good length that’s no longer than seven pages, or two pages for administrative positions.
- Don’t use personal pronouns (I, my, me).
- 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.
- Don’t list your high school.
- Don’t list graduation dates older than 1999.
- Don’t list your street address.
- If you include a LinkedIn profile link, make sure it works.
- Do not write the same responsibilities for every job.
- Grammatical errors will not do you any favors.
- Spelling errors. Don’t make them and pay extra attention to correctly spelling the name of the company you work for.
- Explain any gaps over six months.
- Do not use random bold words.
- Include your current job title.
- Ensure you have no overlapping dates on your work history.
- Include your full last name, not just the first letter of your last name.
- Include your academic institution or major field of study under Education.
- Your Professional Summary should not be word-for-word the same as the body of the resume.
- If your current position date still says “Present,” you should still be working there.
- Position dates should include month and year.
- 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.