En Route: A Career Blog

Resume Do’s and Don’ts – Avoiding the Major Pitfalls

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: June 15, 2010 at 9:03 am

1. Poor or Inappropriate Formatting: The first impression a resume makes is generally the most lasting. Large blocks of uninterrupted text, small margins, text that is very small, or an abundance of bolding, italics, and “designer” fonts make documents difficult to read.

2. Lack of Focus: An effective resume should indicate to the reader within seven seconds, or less, the candidate’s targeted position and qualifications that match the opening.

3. Use of Self-serving Objective Statements: In today’s economy, hiring managers are not interested in what a candidate wants. Rather, they seek candidates that clearly state what they can do for the targeted company in terms of cutting costs, increasing profits, and enhancing productivity.

4. Poor Data Prioritization: A resume should reveal the candidate’s professional & academic background as it applies to the targeted position or program being sought, and in reverse-chronological order (the last job worked or school attended is listed first within that section).

5. Failure to Showcase and Quantify Accomplishments: Hiring managers will not read every line of a resume to determine what a candidate has to offer, especially if it’s buried within dense blocks of text. Applicants must provide special sections indicating professional or academic achievements and these must be quantified.

6. Including Non-relevant Data: Hobbies and interests, unless directly related to the current job search, should never be included.

7. Inappropriate Length: There is no one correct page length for a resume. The document is as long as it needs to be in order to provide a clear and effective picture of the candidate.

8. Personalizing the Document and using Casual Language: Modern resumes are business documents and should never be personalized with use of “I’ “my” “we” or other personal pronouns.

9. Redundancy of Data: Once information has been provided in a resume, it is not repeated elsewhere.

10. Spelling or Grammatical Errors and Incorrect Verb Tense: Once a spelling or grammatical error is detected by an admissions director or hiring manager, he or she will stop reading the resume.


Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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