Resume Do's and Don'ts


  • Make sure your resume is easy to read. Use concise, unambiguous sentences and avoid over-writing. The reader is likely to be busy and not inclined to struggle through flowery prose.
  • Keep the overall length of your resume short. Depending upon your experience, one or two pages is ideal.
  • Stress your past accomplishments and the skills you used to get the desired results. Your accomplishment statements must grab the reader, and quantify the results.
  • Focus on information that's relevant to your own career goals. If you're making a career change, stress what skills are transferable to support your new career objectives.
  • Neatness counts. A poorly structured, badly typed resume tells the reader much about the applicant — none of it good. Spend the extra money to have your resume typed or word processed, or even printed. It's well worth it.
  • Keep an electronic version of your resume that is easy to e-mail or print and a version that is easy to cut and paste into company or job board Web sites.


  • If you're considering enclosing a photograph of yourself, don't! It's not necessary, and no matter how attractive you may be, it could mean a strike-out for you!
  • If you're planning to include personal references on your resume, don't! A potential employer is interested in references only if he or she is seriously considering hiring you. At that time, you may be asked to provide reference information.
  • Avoid odd-size paper or loud colors. Letter-size paper in white, buff or beige, is appropriate. Be sure to use a good quality paper.
  • Reasons for leaving previous jobs should not be included in a resume. Also, don't mention sexual harassment issues, lawsuits, workers' compensation claims, or write, "they fired me for no good reason." In addition, leave out any discussion about hobbies, musical instruments you play, sports you enjoy, your marital status (with the number and gender of kids), age or race. This is a business marketing document, so limit the information on it to business related issues. This is information that should be discussed during the actual interview not on your resume.

Other resources for help with writing resumes:

Resume Do’s and Don’ts and additional resources are available from The Resume Builder .

Geneva Todd Quote