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Resume Tips

  • What Should I Include On My Resume?
  • What Should I Not Include On My Resume?
  • More Great Resume Resources


A summary statement is the written equivalent of your "elevator speech." It's a quick summary highlighting what makes you a great candidate. In just a few sentences, explain your skills, accomplishments and the ways in which you could benefit a potential employer.


If you have a LinkedIn profile or personal (career-focused) website or online portfolio, make it easy for potential employers to find you online (they will likely look for you anyway!). A professional online presence is important and gives you a chance to showcase such things as your writing, art, design, projects and other work. Having a social media presence will help you demonstrate your involvement in your desired field: talk about a conference you attended, post a link to an article you read, etc.

 Did you know... 86% of recruiters will look up an applicant's online profile? By including key links yourself, you can be sure that a recruiter will get to the correct profile and not risk being mixed up with someone else. (Amanda Augustine, TheLadders) 


Still using the email address you created in high school? Well, may need a new one! Choose an email address that is based on your name rather than on hobbies, jokes, nicknames, etc. For your phone number, make sure that the message callers hear when leaving a voicemail is clear, brief and sounds professional.  


Young professionals who have limited paid experience might still have gained relevant, applicable experience by doing something other than paid work. For example, college coursework, volunteering, or membership in clubs or associations can all provide hands-on experience. Including these types of experiences could also increase the chances that your resume contains the relevant keywords that an applicant tracking system will be looking for.

Browsing through resume examples from people in your desired field can help you get a sense of the types of activities that are best to include. But don't go join six clubs just to have more to put on your resume; instead, focus your efforts. For example, if you are in marketing or public relations, a volunteer role where you are regularly helping to plan and organize events can provide you with practical event planning experience that many employers find desirable. 


Don't fear having too little information on your resume. Big blocks of text are hard to read quickly, and key information could get lost. A recruiter needs to be able to get a good sense of your background in the handful of seconds they will spend looking over your resume. A resume is not meant to take the place of an autobiography; it is meant to give hiring managers-and, increasingly, applicant tracking software-an idea of whether you have the skills and experience necessary to succeed at the job. White space is easier on the eyes than clutter. If you hate the idea of leaving too much off your resume, then prepare a second, more-detailed version of your resume to bring with you once you are offered an in-person interview. 


For each organization you have worked or volunteered for, consider adding a sentence or two describing its industry, size, and mission. This information can give recruiters a better overall picture of your experience. It can enhance your candidacy if a recruiter knows, for example, that your internship experience was in a start-up environment. Recruiters are not going to stop to research every organization that every applicant has been involved with. If you do the legwork for them, you just might include the information that lands your resume in the "yes" pile.


Even if you have a polished, professional headshot, you should not include a picture of yourself on your resume. Any time that a recruiter spends looking at a picture is less time that they spend reading about your skills and accomplishments. Additionally, photos and other graphics cannot always be read by applicant tracking systems. If the applicant tracking software can't read your resume properly, your resume might never get in front of a human hiring manager. Make sure that your profile photos for social media look suitably professional, but keep the photos off your resume itself. 


If a recruiter or hiring manager is reading your resume, they already know that you want a job. A stilted statement about your desire to "obtain a position" or "leverage your experience" is not necessary, and won't tell a recruiter anything that they don't already know. Leave off the objective statement when formatting your resume to keep it clutter-free. 


Resume real estate is valuable; there is no need to use any of it up with this throwaway line. If a potential employer asks you for references, and you are serious about wanting to land the job, then of course you will provide references. Besides, references are frequently not even mentioned until the in-person interview, making it premature to address the issue on your resume.


There's no need to include personal information like your social security number, age, marital status, nationality or religious beliefs (and it's often illegal for a potential employer to ask for these details).


If you're searching for a new job, always use a non-work email and phone number on your resume. Remember, the contact information you provide will be used by recruiters to contact you - you don't want them calling you at work or using an email address that can be monitored by your current employer! On that note, be sure to search for jobs on your personal time and on your personal computer, not during work hours or on work computers.  


When choosing your resume font, stick to ones that are easy to read. Employers most often need resumes that can be easily uploaded and stored. A little color can be acceptable on your resume but don't go crazy and always print on white paper.


There's no need to include salary information or hourly pay rates for past jobs. It is not only unnecessary, it may send the wrong message to employers. Your resume needs to showcase the value of your experience and skills, not the cost for former employers. If a job application asks for salary requirements, address this in your cover letter.