Do's and Don'ts of Building a Resume

There’s a lot of information flying around on the web about how to make a resume, but some of them are actually outdated. I wanted to point out what I thought is still relevant to these times and what should be avoided.

If you need help landing that job, please refer to “How to Get a Job After Graduating College.”


Tailor Your Resume to the Job

You always want to do this because it’ll make you seem more of a relevant candidate to someone who didn’t tailor their resume. In the past, I wrote what I wanted to show on my resume, and then sent out mass productions of it. I most likely got nothing in return. It’s a waste of your time to not tailor your resume.

When reading the job descriptions, figure out what the keywords are to these open positions and incorporate them into your resume and cover letter. Use synonyms or find a way to elaborate your experiences that demonstrates these keywords increases your chances of getting that job.

Start Each Bullet Point with an Action Verb

What you definitely don’t want to do is start with I. It’s unnecessary and a waste of space.  

Actions verbs liven the experiences you have and portray a positive connotation to the hiring manager. Weak and vague verbs can decrease the value of the work that you did, so pick verbs that accurately reflect your work.

If you struggle with coming up with unique verbs to use, here’s a list of 185 of them.

Organize Your Relevant Experiences

You can do this either by a chronological order or based on functionality, it just depends on what you did.

For example, if you’re applying to work as an account clerk and your last job was working at a boba shop, but you’ve had an accounting internship prior, then put the internship above your time at the boba shop. The order of your work experiences should be from most relevant to least relevant.

Match the Headings of Your Resume and Cover Letter

This allows for your resume and cover letter to have some appeal to it and adds some consistency between the two.

Include Your Portfolio or Any of Your Past Projects

This helps boost yourself as a candidate and illustrates that you have the capabilities to excel in the position.

Let a Friend or Professional Review Your Resume

Allowing someone else to read your work will offer a different perspective that could further enhance your resume and help you capture any mistakes, because spelling mistakes are a no-no.


Make it Longer Than a Page

You want to narrow it down to the most relevant experiences you have. As mentioned in my previous post, no one needs to read the dissertations of your life.

Put an Objective

This is actually an outdated concept in today’s time. An objective usually demonstrates what you want and what you’re looking for. It doesn’t really say what you can offer the company. Your goal should be for the hirer to pick you for the position.

Put Your Address

With the internet and widespread accessibility of email, no one needs to know your address anymore. Instead, I just put the city of where I’ll be during the time of the position. I was a San Diego student, but I planned on moving back home and to have my life in Los Angeles, so on my resume I put “Los Angeles, CA.” This is based on your situation, so use your best judgement.

Add Your High School Experience

If you’re graduating college, high school experiences are way too old for you to add onto your resume. Employers want the most relevant and timely experiences you have. If it’s your first year of college, then it’s more acceptable.

Add Your GPA if it’s Less Than a 3.5

I didn’t have a 3.5 GPA, but I think a GPA doesn’t define who you are or your skills. My experiences do. The reason you don’t want to put it if it’s less than a 3.5 is because it downgrades your value in the employer’s eyes. Remember that you’re trying to sell yourself, so you’re selling points are the positive work you did or skills you have. Bringing up something that isn’t impressive, won’t impress them.

Include Your References or “References Available Upon Request”

I’m guilty of this on the latter half. Apparently, it’s a waste of space and if they want your references, they will ask.

Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful to you. Like, share, or comment in the section below if you believe there’s anything else that should be included. 

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