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Employers want a customized resume for the open position, a cover letter and more than 20 percent expect to see links to your online portfolio, blog or website.

Resume Builder - Insider Tips

Your resume is the first impression made between you and an employer, so you want to do all you can to stand out from the others. A professional resume makes a strong statement to a recruiter and hiring manager, you only get one chance at making a good impression.
A solid resume may have you headed for the call back pile (aka short list), while a bad one will most certainly seal your fate for the dreaded click, drag and delete exercise.
But remember, some of these issues are not black and white. It’s all about what the prospective employer/agent/database-trawl is looking for.

Some things to DO

Use power words or keywords like beneficial, advanced, collaborated leadership, problem solving, communication, team building and performance or productivity improvement to increase your changes of impressing.

Comb through the job description to find what words, skills, or qualifications keep coming up. Pick out your strengths from what you’ve found, and make sure a reader doesn’t have to go very far to find something of interest.

Spotlight your relevant experience and specific accomplishments. Talk about specific areas where you "moved the needle" and by how much

Customize your resume for the open position you are applying for.

Include skills that show you are tech savvy and it’s okay to be obvious about it.

Your formatting and fonts should be on point. Use a professional font that is easy to understand and is common, so everyone has it on their computer.

Summarize your skills and tools in an easy-to-scan way. Resumes are often prescreened and sorted by machines or search logic.

Include your full first name and the best ways to get ahold of you.

Make sure your resume has relevance, relevance, relevance to the open position.  

Ditch the objective and stay away from unattainable goals. It’s your experience and skills that really matter. Include your career objective in your cover letter.

Your resume is an opportunity to present yourself and your brand. Take some time to create a strong branding statement.  

Put well-known companies in bold or in caps. Don’t diminish their impact by italicizing them or bolding your position title instead.

Spruce it up! Hiring managers will dismiss a candidate for a resume that is too bland or average. 

Be selective when highlighting your career or academic achievements.

Talk in the 1st person.  

Unless you have no cell service at home, only use your mobile number.

If you use someone else’s MS Word resume as a template, be sure to change the author attribute to your name.

Keep it short and focused. A resume should not be your life history.

Select achievements. Employers do care what you accomplished. Don’t list everything you did.

Always include your e-mail and telephone number.

Include at least a short cover letter with each resume submission. If you don’t include a cover letter, the reader will know you are using the shotgun approach.

Say something nice about the company in your cover letter, so that it is apparent you visited the company website.

Use section headings strategically. They need to be clear, so the reader may easily skim the document. Take advantage of the prominence of headings and add some relevant flair.

Use your judgment and omit insignificant information that’s not pertinent or mandatory and may be less than flattering. (For instance…if your GPA was under 3.0, leave it out.)

Some things however are big DON'Ts 

Don’t lie. Don’t pad the truth. Don’t move dates or add job duties. Keep it real and 100% accurate. Be honest! A tiny exaggeration will have your integrity in question (with the recruiter or employer) before you can attempt to explain your way out.

Don’t be afraid to use a second page. More than 75% of employers expect to see a resume that’s at least two pages long.

Don’t go nuts with resume formatting and design. Instead, your resume should be more conservative if you are applying for a traditional job and more creative if you are applying for a design or marketing position.

Don’t be too generic. Up to 75% of employers consider overly generic resumes to be a negative.

A photo on your resume is not necessary.

Don’t use multiple fonts in the body of your resume.

If you graduated college, don’t include your high school.

Don’t overuse bold, italics or underline, and don’t highlight anything.

Don’t let even one typo or grammatical error see the page. Have others proof your work. More than half of resumes with typos may be immediately tossed in the trash.

Don’t put your work phone number or work e-mail on your resume unless you want to be contacted there.

Don’t use an unprofessional e-mail address and stay away from if you are applying for a high-tech position.  

Do not share irrelevant personal information on your resume. (i.e. marriage status, family size, favorite sports, age).

Don’t misspell the hiring manager’s name.

Don’t forget to include and emphasize your results. Describe how you were an agent of positive change, and how you made the organization more profitable, more productive and a better place to work.

Don’t waste space with a “References Available Upon Request” section. This fact is understood. Do not include personal references on your resume.

Don’t weight your resume down with unnecessary information.

Try not to exceed 3 to 5 bullet points per section.

Don’t list a skill you can’t backup.

Do not use proprietary acronyms or jargon.

Don’t feel obligated to include your home physical address. It is not required. A city and state will suffice.


According to a CareerBuilder survey, employers say:

  • 62 percent of candidates embellished their skill sets.
  • 54 percent of candidates embellished responsibilities.
  • 39 percent of candidates lied about dates of employment.
  • 31 percent of candidates lied about their job titles.
  • 28 percent lied about their academic degrees.


It's OK if you're not 100 percent qualified for the job. Forty-two percent of employers surveyed say they'd consider a candidate who only meets three out of five key qualifications.

​Resume Builder - Insider Tips

Refer to these suggestions to create a first-class resume and to improve your chances for success.