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While writing a resume is undoubtedly challenging, there are certain CV faux pas that can be easily avoided to improve your application and chances for landing the job you want. Whether that means omitting third person or submitting two pages, the strongest resume shines a light on your unique skills and experience with succinct clarity.
That’s where Philips recruiters come in. They’ve filled roles with the best talent for thousands of jobs and know exactly what to look for in prospective employees. Below are 20 of their essential resume dos and dont’s that could bring you one step closer to taking the next big step in your career.
1. A headshot won’t give you a head start.
Save that valuable space on your resume for highlighting your professional accomplishments and achievements. A headshot opens the door to potential discrimination accusations that recruiters must stay away from.
2. Two pages? Perfectly fine.
The old adage says: keep your resume to one page. But if you are a seasoned professional, it can make sense to write a two-page resume that encompasses your relevant work experience. If you have less professional experience, a single page is more than acceptable.
3. There’s no place like home. So include it on your resume.
By adding your home residence to your resume, recruiters will know whether you’ll need to move to accept the job and potentially offer you money to relocate. Plus, if you land the position, your new company will have what it needs to generate a formal offer letter quickly.
4. Keep employers linked in with your professional social media accounts.
By providing links to your career site profiles, such as LinkedIn, you’re giving hiring managers a simplified snapshot of your experience and easy access to all your testimonials.
5. Republican? Democrat? Save it for the voting booth.
Recruiters and hiring managers want to know whether you’re qualified for the job at hand. Leave out personal information, such as your marital status, number of children, height and weight, birthday and political affiliation.
6. Cash in later.
A resume should showcase your professional skills and leave money discussions for later in the interview process. In some states, it’s even illegal for recruiters to ask what you’re making. Err on the safe side and omit any salary figures.
7. Skip the bucket list for now.
While extracurricular and volunteer activities show that you’re a well-rounded individual, keep in mind that recruiters are assessing your skills and experience for the job at hand. Save all the juicy details for meeting with the hiring manager after you meet with a recruiter.
8. There’s only one objective: land the job.
These days, many recruiters consider an objective — a succinct summary of your skills at the top of your resume — “old school.” Instead, opt to let the hiring manager know during your meeting what skills you have to offer.
9. One size doesn’t fit all.
No matter how many jobs you’ve had, recruiters will appreciate it if you include experience that’s directly applicable to the role. Consider leaving out your starter jobs or your stint at a company that went out of business decades ago. You can always add “Additional Experience Upon Request” if you have more experience than space allows.
10. Dig for the details.
When crafting a resume, it’s always best to be as detailed as possible. Try to avoid general phrases such as “excellent communication skills” and “well organized.” Instead, highlight your unique, specific offerings as a candidate, which can serve as great conversation starters.
11. Reference check? Take a rain check.
It’s wonderful to have colleagues, bosses and friends who will speak to your character, but corporate recruiters don’t need to reach out to your references. If you progress further in the interview process, they will often do a formal background check if needed. Have a list on hand, however, for later on, in case the recruiter requests it.
12. First person over third wins every day.
There’s really no better place to use “I” than in your resume. By writing in the first person instead of the third person, you’ll sound more authentic, friendly and conversational. It’ll draw recruiters right in.
13. Calculate when GPA really matters.
Still in college? Include your GPA if it’s over 3.2. If it’s under, opt to omit it. Make certain to include your degrees and areas of study, but it isn’t necessary to add your SAT score.
14. No degree? Add college credits.
If you attended college but didn’t graduate, include the dates you attended, your major and how many credits you earned toward your degree. If you land an interview, recruiters will likely ask why you did not graduate, so prepare an answer ahead of time.
15. You’ve got mail.
Lots of employers value creativity, but if your email has “cutefuzzykittens” in it, you should create a more professional address for recruiters and hiring managers to reach you. This will help them take you more seriously as a candidate.
16. Make-or-break verbs.
Strong verbs, such as “managed,” “delivered” and “launched” successfully convey a sense of action and accomplishment. Before sending out your resume, insert strong, confident action verbs where you can.
17. An honest mistake can honestly hurt you.
Even with the best intentions, typos can happen. Run a spell-check and double- and triple-check your grammar. Better yet: ask a friend to take a peek — an extra set of eyes is always advantageous, as nobody is perfect.
18. Age is just a number (but not on your resume).
Your resume shouldn’t contain personal information, such as your age. By removing it you’ll keep the spotlight on what really matters: your stellar qualifications.
19. Visualize a new job, not a fancy font.
Substance over style always wins. The best resumes are clean, clear and to the point. Your experience and accomplishments are strong enough to stand on their own.
20. Leave a little mystery.
Everyone has a good reason for seeking new job opportunities, but it’s best to save this kind of information as material to share during your interview with the recruiter and hiring manager.