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The Do's & Don't’s of Resume Writing

Joining the job hunt isn't as daunting as it seems. Of course, you need to prepare yourself, as you need to advertise your employability to hiring companies. Where can you start? Well, you can start by formulating your resume and cover letter. Since fellow journalist Ariana went over how to create a cover letter, I will be covering the dos and don'ts of resume writing. 

A resume, aka a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is essentially your first (formal) impression for a hiring company. This document highlights your qualifications relative to the job you are applying for. While resumes can vary in format, there are various tips to keep in mind to ensure your resume gets the message across.

When it comes to the job search, it may be daunting to reach out and look for vacant job openings. Fortunately, A resume is essentially your first impression to a hiring company on whether you would serve as a great candidate.

DON’T: Make Your Resume Too Long 

Keep in mind, you are not the only candidate applying for an open job. You may be competing with tens, hundreds, or thousands of people, depending on the company.  This company’s hiring team can only spend a few seconds scanning and filtering out resumes.  A common misconception is that the longer your resume is, the better.  The thing is that to make your resume longer, you would probably resort to filling out your resume with every single detail you can think of.  Despite putting the necessary information, it may be outweighed by the abundance of irrelevant information.  A hiring company would be disengaged to sift through your resume and find what they are looking for. 

DO: Keep Resume Short and Sweet 

Since a hiring team only looks at the resumes briefly, a good rule-of-thumb would be to make your resume anywhere between 1-2 pages. Setting this limit will make you more cautious of the information you put them and assess whether it would showcase your employability. If you are applying for a shift supervisor position, the company does not want to hear about that one school performance you did in your middle school talent show. However, they would be more interested in your time as a part-time cashier over the summer. If you are having trouble thinking of what you need to put on your resume, take a moment and think about your involvement in the following categories: Education, Work Experience, Skills, Certifications & Licenses, and Extracurriculars/ Side Projects. 

DON’T: Use Passive Language 

When describing an activity or job on your resume, you may be start off with phrases like “Responsible for” or “was required to.” Making a habit of writing in such a passive manner can be detrimental. These phrases somewhat distract from the description of the activity. It creates a more mundane tone. To add on, it gives hiring teams the impression that you did not place as much initiative or effort in your previous endeavors. 

DO: Use Action Words & Keywords

Instead of passive language, go right into describing your involvement and responsibilities through action words. Action words bring emphasis and get straight to the point. When describing your former job as an administrative assistant on your resume, for instance, you can explain your task of preparing documents by saying: Produced company stakeholder documents by organizing company’s contacts using Microsoft Excel. To hiring teams, action words can make you seem confident in your abilities. 

When you apply for a particular job, pay attention to the keywords mentioned in the job advertisement. Some of these keywords may include training, technical, research, analytical, and so forth. They are generally highlighted in the section about working expectations and qualifications. Use that to your advantage and find a way to incorporate them into your resume. Various companies utilize applicant tracking systems (ATS) software. What the ATS does is scan the given resume for the frequency of specific keywords. If it achieves a certain result, the resume can then be passed to the hiring team to have a more in-depth look into it. You should aim to pass this obstacle of ATS software, so be sure to lock-in your keywords.