Your resume demonstrates your skills, experience, and capabilities of performing a job. When you have flaws in your resume, this can destroy your chances of getting called in for an interview. So, you want to be very cautious of the image your resume is portraying. It can make you appear incompetent to do the job you are applying to.
Flaws in your resume might include such things as having significant date gaps or lack of certifications needed for the position you desire. To help with employment gaps, it is perfectly acceptable to use the years you worked and exclude months so that the gaps are not as obvious in your resume.
While you want your resume to be succinct, having a two-page resume is quite acceptable in today’s market. In fact, executives and project-based professionals such as those in IT or public accounting might even have a three page resume. However, no matter how long or short your resume is, the content has to be appealing to the reader. Remember, going back in time on the resume 10 to 15 years is plenty. In addition, providing just enough information to pique interest without going overboard is the balance you seek. If your resume is created correctly, additional career information can be shared during the interview process.
Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Do not use weird fonts on your resume. This will make a prospective employer pass on reviewing it. Use fonts such as Ariel, Palantino Linotype, Book Antiqua, and Calibri; stay away from Times New Roman – everyone uses it!
- Don’t put strange email addresses on your resume. This can look very unprofessional. What I mean is something that reads email@example.com. Even if you have to create a separate email just for your job search, you want to reflect a professional image.
- Do be honest. Remember employers check references. So don’t lie or put false things on your resume.
- Do make the first page of your resume stand out because it is very important (I refer to it as the “high rent district”). A hiring manager will briefly look at this part first to determine whether or not your resume is worth looking at more in depth.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to pay attention to spelling and grammar. If you make these types of mistakes, it will not be overlooked as these demonstrate a lack of attention to detail and un-professionalism. You don’t want make a negative first impression, so be sure to use the spell checker in your word processing program and try to have a second set of eyes review it before you send it out.