Top 10 Resume Don’ts

Crafting a resume is just one component of a multi-step, job search process. A successful job search also includes networking, developing a list of target employers, creating a robust LinkedIn profile, salary negotiation, and more.

Still, in many cases, your resume is the catalyst that gets the ball rolling. Without a compelling, results driven resume you may never get invited to a job interview.

There are many articles on how to write a resume that generates calls, I’ve written several myself. What’s not as often addressed is what “not” to do.

So to change things up a bit, here is a list of things to avoid.

Top 10 Resume Don’ts

  1. Don’t lie. While a resume should be a marketing document, being dishonest is never OK. Even the smallest lies, things that you might consider an exaggeration, can come back to haunt you. For example, stating you have an MBA when you have a MA make take you out of the running. Saying you have a degree when you don’t will almost definitely get you cut.

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6 Point Executive Resume Checklist

You may have heard of Marshall Goldsmith’s bestselling book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful. The truth is, it’s the same with resumes. The resume that generated interviews early in your career, won’t get you noticed once you reach the executive level.

The resume that listed your duties and responsibilities won’t impress recruiters and employers who are filling executive roles. Here is a 6 Point Checklist for developing an interview-generating, executive resume.

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Do You Have A “Tombstone” Resume?

The best resumes, the ones that will get a hiring manager’s attention, are marketing documents. They are designed to sell you (the product) to a potential employer (the buyer).

They are not laundry lists of responsibilities. They are not boring employment histories. They don’t include every job you’ve ever had or every single thing you’ve done during your career.

That style of resume is sometimes called a “Tombstone” resume because it is directed towards the past, not the future.

Your future.

When you’re putting together your resume keep these 5 things in mind.

1) Your resume is a marketing tool. It’s not an employment history or a job application. While you should never lie or succumb to gross exaggeration, you should also frame the content in a way that sells you to a potential employer.

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2 Phrases That Will Sabotage Your Resume

34427005_sGenerally, there are two things that mark a not so great resume. Poor content and lack of style. While an eye-catching resume can help you stand out from the crowd, without compelling content it’s unlikely that anyone will be inspired to contact you.

The hallmark of most poorly written resumes are the phrases “responsible for” and “duties included.”

People mistakenly believe that saying that they are responsible for managing a team or running a department or overseeing a large sales territory will impress the reader.

Not so.

Being responsible for something doesn’t show impact.

For example, if you’re a VP of Sales you may be responsible for opening new markets. But, what does that actually mean?

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How To Give Your Boring Executive Resume Some Style

34014067_sThe first rule of resumes is that Content is KING! No matter how snazzy your resume looks, if your content doesn’t convey value it’s unlikely to generate job interviews.

That said, having a well formatted resume infused with some style can help set you apart from your competition.

When it comes to formatting, the biggest problem with DIY resumes is sloppiness.

This is often seen in inconsistent bullets, employment dates that have migrated across the page, and teeny, tiny or weird fonts that no one can read.

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5 Things NOT To Include On Your Resume

24866573_sThere are dozens of articles on how to write a winning resume. I’ve written many myself. But, what every professional resume writer knows is it’s also essential to understand what NOT to include.

HR professionals, for example, don’t want to see photos because they’re concerned about possible discrimination charges down the road. Unless you’re a recent grad, there’s no reason to include your college and/university graduation dates. Doing so will advertise your age. Here are five other things not to include on your resume.


It should go without saying, but typos can be the kiss of death. One misspelling may not take you out of the running, but several probably will. Read your resume several times. Read it backwards to catch any words that don’t fit, like Microsoft Office Sweet.


Fluffy statements and generic wording won’t get you far. No need to say you’re highly educated. One of the first things a recruiter will look at is your education. Same goes with clichés like “excellent communication skills” and “team-player.” Instead, give examples that demonstrate your communication skills, like “successfully negotiated faster payment terms . . .”

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5 Ways To Improve Your Executive Resume

417575_sWhile it’s true that in resumes “content is king” most of us are very visual. Because of this tendency a boring, poorly formatted resume isn’t likely to attract the attention of recruiters or hiring managers. Let alone the new HR associate who may be the first person to see your documents at all.

You don’t need to be a professional to make your resume easy-to-read and add a little punch. Here are five easy ways to transform your resume from muddled to refined.

Add Sections

Resume content should be presented in sections that are delineated in some way. For example Professional Experience, Education, Skills, etc. separated by lines. This can be done easily by using the Borders & Shading function in Microsoft Word.

Adding some formatting to your resume will make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to read.

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How To Write A Resume That Generates Calls

phone_interviewThere are a several elements that make one resume more effective than another. First, a resume needs to grab the reader’s attention. It needs to present what the candidate has to offer right up front. It also needs to sell the candidate to the recruiter and hiring manager.

A 2012 study done by TheLadders found that you need to get a recruiters attention fast. The results of their eye-scanning study showed that recruiters made a yes or no decision in less than 6 seconds.

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