50+ Dos & Don'ts of Resume Writing in 2023
In the competitive job market of 2023, a well-crafted resume can be your ticket to landing your dream job.
However, the rules of resume writing are constantly evolving. To help you navigate the complexities of modern resume writing, we've compiled a comprehensive list of dos and don'ts.
You can leverage the power of AI resume-building tools like HyreSnap Online Resume Builder to do the 80% part. But, these below-mentioned points will help you garnish the final version of your resume.
Resume writing in 2023 continues to evolve to meet the changing demands of the job market and hiring processes. To create a resume that stands out in 2023, consider the following trends and best practices:
The resume header is a crucial part of your resume because it provides essential contact information and sets the tone for your document. Here are some dos and don'ts to consider when writing your resume header:
- Include Your Full Name: Use your full legal name as it appears on official documents. Make sure it's in a larger and bolder font than the rest of the text in your resume.
- Use a Professional Email Address: Provide a professional email address. Avoid using unprofessional or overly casual email addresses.
- Add a Phone Number: Include an active phone number where employers can reach you. Make sure the voicemail is professional if you can't answer calls.
- Incorporate a LinkedIn Profile: If you have a well-maintained LinkedIn profile, consider adding the URL. It can provide additional information about your professional background.
- Include a Professional Title: Optionally, you can include a brief professional title or tagline beneath your name. For example, "Digital Marketing Specialist" or "Software Engineer."
- Consider Adding a Location: Include your current location, especially if you're applying for jobs in a specific city or region. However, this is optional.
- Don't Use Nicknames or Informal Names: Use your full, formal name. Avoid nicknames, initials, or overly informal names.
- Avoid Unprofessional Email Addresses: Your email address should be professional. Avoid using email addresses with quirky or inappropriate names.
- Don't Include Irrelevant Information: The resume header is not the place for personal information like your date of birth, marital status, or social security number. This information is typically not required and can lead to bias.
- Avoid Clutter: Keep the header clean and uncluttered. Don't include too much information or graphics that make it hard to read.
- Don't Use a Generic Title: If you choose to include a professional title, make sure it's specific to your field or industry. Avoid vague titles like "job seeker" or "student."
- Don't Forget to Update: If you change your phone number, email address, or location, make sure to update your resume header accordingly. An outdated header can cause communication issues.
- Don't Over-Design: While some creativity is fine, don't over-design your header with excessive fonts, colors, or graphics. It should maintain a professional appearance.
- Don't Include Unverified Social Media Links: Only include a LinkedIn profile if it's well-maintained and presents you in a professional light. Avoid linking to personal or unprofessional social media accounts.
Writing a resume summary is a critical part of your resume, as it provides a brief snapshot of your qualifications and can capture the attention of hiring managers.
Here are some dos and don'ts to consider when crafting a resume summary:
- Be Concise: Keep your summary concise and to the point. Aim for 2-3 sentences that highlight your most significant qualifications and achievements.
- Tailor to the Job: Customize your summary for each job application. Highlight skills and experiences that align with the specific job description.
- Focus on Impact: Highlight your accomplishments and the impact you've made in previous roles. Use specific metrics and numbers whenever possible.
- Use Action Words: Begin your sentences with strong action verbs to convey a sense of action and accomplishment. For example, "managed," "implemented," "achieved."
- Showcase Relevant Skills: Include key skills and qualifications that are relevant to the job you're applying for. This helps hiring managers quickly see your suitability for the role.
- Highlight Experience: Mention your years of experience in the industry or specific roles, especially if you are an experienced professional.
- Express Enthusiasm: Convey your enthusiasm for the role and the company in your summary. Show that you're genuinely interested in the opportunity.
- Use Keywords: Incorporate industry-specific keywords and phrases from the job description to optimize your resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
- Avoid Generic Statements: Avoid generic phrases that don't add value, such as "team player" or "detail-oriented." Instead, provide specific examples of your abilities.
- Don't Make It Too Long: Keep your summary brief. It's not a replacement for the rest of your resume but a teaser to encourage further reading.
- Don't Use Personal Pronouns: Avoid using personal pronouns like "I" or "my." Write in a concise, sentence-fragment style.
- Steer Clear of Irrelevant Information: Your summary should be focused on your professional qualifications. Avoid including personal information or unrelated details.
- Don't Repeat Information: Don't repeat information that can be found elsewhere in your resume. Use the summary to add context or emphasize key points.
- Don't Include Salary Expectations: Your salary expectations or requirements should not be mentioned in the resume summary. This can be discussed later in the hiring process.
- Avoid Jargon: While industry-specific terminology is essential, avoid using jargon that may not be universally understood. Keep your language clear and accessible.
- Don't List Responsibilities: Your summary should focus on achievements and impact rather than a list of job responsibilities. Save those for the work experience section.
- Don't Be Negative: Avoid any negative language or statements. Keep your summary positive and focused on your strengths.
- Prioritize Relevant Skills: List skills that are directly relevant to the job you're applying for. Tailor this section for each application.
- Group Skills: Categorize your skills into groups such as "Technical Skills," "Soft Skills," or "Languages" to make it easier for employers to identify them.
- Highlight Key Technical Skills: If you're in a technical field, emphasize specific technical skills like programming languages, software proficiency, or certifications.
- Use Action Verbs: When describing your skills, use action verbs like "developed," "managed," or "implemented" to make them sound more dynamic.
- Quantify When Possible: Whenever you can, quantify your skills with specific metrics or achievements. For instance, "increased website traffic by 30%" or "completed 10 projects within deadline."
- Be Honest: Only list skills you genuinely possess and can confidently discuss in an interview.
- Include Soft Skills: Don't forget to include soft skills like communication, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving. These are often highly valued by employers.
- Highlight Language Proficiency: If you are proficient in multiple languages, specify your level of proficiency (e.g., fluent, intermediate, basic) for each language.
- Adapt to ATS: Use industry-specific keywords relevant to the job description to improve your resume's chances of passing through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
- Don't Include Irrelevant Skills: Avoid listing skills that are not directly related to the job you're applying for. Focus on what's essential.
- Avoid Overwhelming Lists: Keep the skills section concise. Listing too many skills can make it appear cluttered and dilute the impact of your most important qualifications.
- Don't Exaggerate: Be honest about your skill level. Exaggerating your skills can lead to issues if you're asked to demonstrate them during an interview or on the job.
- Avoid Vague Terms: Be specific in your descriptions. Avoid vague terms like "good communication skills" without providing context or examples.
- Don't Rely Solely on Soft Skills: While soft skills are valuable, don't solely rely on them. Include a balance of technical and soft skills, with an emphasis on those most relevant to the role.
- Don't Include Outdated Skills: Remove skills that are no longer relevant or are outdated in your field. Keeping your skills current is essential.
- Don't List Basic Computer Skills: In most cases, basic computer skills like using email, web browsing, or word processing are assumed. Only list them if the job specifically requires them.
- Avoid Generic Phrases: Steer clear of generic phrases like "detail-oriented" or "self-starter" without providing specific examples of how you embody these qualities.
- Don't Include References: The skills section is not the place to mention references or their contact information.
The work experience section of your resume is where you demonstrate your professional background and achievements.
To make this section effective, follow these dos and don'ts:
- Be Specific: Clearly detail your job titles, the names of your employers, and the dates of your employment. Specifics lend credibility to your claims.
- Quantify Achievements: Use numbers to quantify your accomplishments. Highlight how you made an impact. For example, "increased sales by 20%," or "managed a team of 10 employees."
- Use Action Verbs: Start each bullet point with strong action verbs (e.g., managed, led, achieved) to convey a sense of action and accomplishment.
- Focus on Achievements: Emphasize your accomplishments and contributions rather than just listing job duties. Explain how you added value to your previous employers.
- Tailor to the Job: Customize your work experience section for each job application by highlighting relevant experiences and skills that align with the specific job description.
- Highlight Relevant Skills: Showcase skills that are directly related to the job you're applying for. It helps employers see your suitability for the role.
- Use Bullet Points: Present your work experience in bullet point format. It's easier to read and allows for concise descriptions.
- Include Keywords: Include industry-specific keywords and phrases from the job description to optimize your resume for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
- Show Progression: If applicable, demonstrate career progression by showing how you advanced in responsibilities or were promoted within a company.
- Don't Include Irrelevant Jobs: Leave out jobs that are not directly related to the job you're applying for unless they demonstrate valuable transferable skills.
- Don't Overwhelm with Details: While specifics are important, avoid overloading your resume with excessive details or jargon that might not be universally understood.
- Avoid Generic Statements: Don't use vague or generic statements that don't add value, like "responsible for" or "handled tasks." Be specific about your contributions.
- Don't Include Personal Information: Your work experience section is not the place for personal information like your date of birth, marital status, or social security number.
- Don't Forget About Gaps: Address any significant gaps in your work history. If you took time off for personal reasons or pursued further education, briefly explain it.
- Don't Include References: Avoid mentioning references in your work experience section. Save that information for a separate references section if required.
- Don't Use Personal Pronouns: Write your work experience descriptions in a concise, sentence-fragment style without using personal pronouns like "I" or "my."
- Don't Overshare: While it's important to highlight accomplishments, avoid oversharing personal or sensitive information about your previous employers or colleagues.
- Don't Include Salary Information: Your previous salary history is generally not relevant in the work experience section and should not be mentioned.
When listing training and internship details on your resume, it's essential to effectively communicate your learning experiences and skills gained. Here are some dos and don'ts to consider:
- Use Relevant Titles: Clearly indicate that the experience was a training or internship. For example, "Marketing Intern" or "Software Development Trainee."
- Include Dates: Specify the start and end dates of your training or internship to show the duration of your experience.
- Highlight Achievements: Focus on what you achieved or learned during the training or internship. Mention specific projects or tasks you worked on.
- Quantify When Possible: Use numbers or metrics to quantify your accomplishments. For instance, "assisted in increasing website traffic by 25%."
- Tailor to the Job: Customize your training and internship details to align with the job you're applying for. Highlight skills and experiences that are relevant to the position.
- Show Progression: If you completed multiple internships or training programs, show how your responsibilities or skills developed over time.
- Include Technical Skills: Mention any technical skills or tools you gained proficiency in during your training or internship.
- Use Action Verbs: Start bullet points with strong action verbs like "assisted," "collaborated," or "developed" to convey your contributions.
- Don't Overshare: While it's important to highlight your experiences, avoid providing excessive detail. Focus on the most significant and relevant aspects.
- Don't Include Unrelated Experiences: Only include training and internship details that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Exclude experiences that don't align with the position.
- Avoid Vague Statements: Be specific about what you did during your training or internship. Avoid vague statements like "assisted with various tasks."
- Don't Forget Dates: Always include the start and end dates of your training or internship. Omitting this information can raise questions.
- Don't Exaggerate: Be truthful about your responsibilities and accomplishments. Exaggerating your role can lead to credibility issues.
- Don't Overlook Transferable Skills: Even if your training or internship wasn't in the same field as your desired job, highlight transferable skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.
- Don't Neglect Language Skills: If your training or internship enhanced your language skills, include them in your resume as they can be valuable in many positions.
When mentioning education on your resume, it's important to present your academic background in a clear and impactful manner. Here are some dos and don'ts for including education details:
- Be Accurate: Ensure that all the information about your education is accurate and up-to-date. Double-check your graduation dates and other details.
- Highlight Advanced Degrees: If you have advanced degrees (e.g., master's or Ph.D.), place them prominently on your resume, especially if they are relevant to the job you're applying for.
- Include GPA (if strong): If your GPA is above 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and you are a recent graduate or a student with limited work experience, consider including it.
- Emphasize Relevant Courses: If you've taken courses that are directly related to the job you're applying for, consider mentioning them under your education section to demonstrate your knowledge.
- Showcase Honors: Mention any academic honors, awards, or scholarships you've received. These can enhance your qualifications.
- Include Certifications: If you've earned any relevant certifications or licenses through your educational institution (e.g., project management certification), list them.
- Don't Include High School: Generally, once you have completed a higher level of education (e.g., college or university), omit high school details from your resume.
- Don't Overshare: Keep your education section concise. Unless you are a recent graduate or your education is directly related to the job, you don't need to provide extensive details.
- Don't Include Irrelevant Degrees: If you have multiple degrees, consider excluding those that are unrelated to the job you're applying for, especially if you have limited space on your resume.
- Don't Include Graduation Dates (if outdated): If you graduated many years ago, it's not necessary to include graduation dates. Instead, focus on your work experience.
- Don't Mention Unfinished Degrees: If you did not complete a degree program, do not include it in your education section. It may raise questions about your qualifications.
- Don't Include GPA (if low): If your GPA is below 3.0, it's generally best to omit it from your resume.
- Don't Overemphasize Education: If you have significant work experience, your education should be listed after your work experience section, as it's typically less relevant.
Listing certifications on your resume can enhance your qualifications and demonstrate your expertise. However, it's important to do so effectively. Here are some dos and don'ts for including certifications on your resume:
- Include Relevant Certifications: List certifications that are directly related to the job you're applying for. Focus on those that demonstrate your skills and qualifications for the position.
- Provide Certification Details: Mention the full name of the certification, the certifying institution or organization, and the date of certification. Be specific about each certification.
- Highlight Key Certifications: If you have multiple certifications, emphasize the most relevant and prestigious ones at the beginning of your list. Consider grouping them by category if applicable.
- Use a Separate Section: Create a dedicated section for certifications on your resume, typically after your education or work experience section.
- Include Expiry Dates (if relevant): If your certifications have expiration dates, it's a good practice to include them. This shows that your certifications are current.
- Quantify if Possible: If your certification involves specific skills or achievements, mention them. For example, "Certified Project Manager with a 95% project success rate."
- Emphasize Licensures: If you hold professional licenses required for the job (e.g., nursing licenses, real estate licenses), make sure to include them.
- Tailor to the Job: Customize your list of certifications to align with the requirements of the job you're applying for. Highlight those that make you a stronger candidate for that role.
- Don't Include Irrelevant Certifications: Avoid listing certifications that are not related to the job you're applying for. Focus on qualifications that matter to the employer.
- Don't Exaggerate: Be truthful about your certifications. Don't claim certifications you haven't earned, as this can lead to credibility issues.
- Don't Omit Expiration Dates (if relevant): If your certifications have expiration dates, it's generally a good idea to include them. Omitting this information can raise questions.
- Don't Use Jargon: Ensure that the names of your certifications are clear and understandable to those outside your field. Avoid using industry-specific abbreviations or acronyms without explanation.
- Don't Overwhelm with Details: While it's important to provide details about your certifications, avoid overwhelming the reader with lengthy descriptions. Be concise.
- Don't Include Basic Training: Basic training certificates that are assumed for your profession (e.g., basic CPR training for a nurse) are typically not necessary to list.
- Don't Use an Unorganized Format: Keep your certification section organized and easy to read. Use bullet points or a clear format to present the information.
- Don't Include Outdated Certifications: If you have certifications that are no longer relevant to your career or industry, consider omitting them.
Extracurricular activities on your resume can provide valuable insights into your skills and interests outside of work or academics. However, it's essential to present them effectively. Here are some dos and don'ts for including extracurricular activities on your resume:
- Include Relevant Activities: List extracurricular activities that are relevant to the job or demonstrate skills that are valuable in the workplace. Focus on those that showcase leadership, teamwork, or unique accomplishments.
- Highlight Leadership Roles: Emphasize any leadership roles you held within clubs, organizations, or teams. Mention positions like president, captain, or coordinator.
- Quantify Achievements: If possible, quantify your achievements within extracurricular activities. For example, "Led a team of 15 members to organize a charity fundraiser, raising $5,000 for a local nonprofit."
- Specify Roles and Responsibilities: Provide a brief description of your roles and responsibilities within each activity, highlighting skills you developed or applied.
- Show Consistency: If you have been actively involved in an extracurricular activity over an extended period, such as several years, it demonstrates commitment and dedication.
- Highlight Skills Gained: Mention specific skills you gained or honed through these activities, such as communication, problem-solving, or project management.
- Use Action Verbs: Start bullet points with strong action verbs (e.g., organized, managed, collaborated) to convey your contributions and accomplishments.
- Tailor to the Job: Customize your list of extracurricular activities to align with the job you're applying for. Highlight those that showcase skills or experiences relevant to the position.
- Don't Include Irrelevant Activities: Avoid listing activities that are not related to the job or don't provide meaningful insights into your qualifications. Focus on those with relevance.
- Don't Overload with Details: Be concise in your descriptions of extracurricular activities. Avoid overwhelming the reader with lengthy explanations.
- Don't Include Basic Hobbies: Basic hobbies like reading, watching movies, or cooking are typically not necessary to include, unless they have a unique twist or relevance to the job.
- Don't Exaggerate Roles: Be truthful about your roles and responsibilities within extracurricular activities. Exaggeration can lead to credibility issues.
- Don't Include Outdated Activities: If you have extracurricular activities from many years ago that are no longer relevant to your current career, consider omitting them.
- Don't Use Jargon: Ensure that the names of your extracurricular activities are clear and understandable to those outside of your organization or field. Avoid industry-specific acronyms without explanation.
- Don't Overemphasize Unrelated Activities: If you have limited relevant extracurricular activities, it's better to briefly mention them rather than overemphasize unrelated ones.
- Don't Neglect Format: Keep your extracurricular activities section organized and easy to read, using bullet points or a clear format to present the information.
The "Additional Information" section on a resume can be used to provide extra context or relevant details about your qualifications. Here are some dos and don'ts for including additional information on your resume:
- Include Relevant Information: Use the additional information section to include details that are relevant to the job or provide valuable context about your qualifications.
- Language Proficiency: Mention your proficiency in additional languages, especially if the job requires bilingual or multilingual skills.
- Professional Memberships: If you are a member of professional organizations or associations related to your field, it can be worth mentioning them.
- Publications and Presentations: If you have authored publications, articles, or given presentations related to your field, this section can be a suitable place to mention them.
- Volunteer Work: If you have significant volunteer experience that demonstrates relevant skills or character traits, include it here.
- Awards and Honors: Highlight any awards, scholarships, or honors you've received, especially if they relate to the job or demonstrate exceptional achievement.
- Hobbies and Interests (selectively): Include hobbies or interests that showcase qualities or skills relevant to the job, such as teamwork (from team sports) or creativity (from artistic pursuits).
- Don't Overshare: Keep the additional information section concise and focused on relevant details. Avoid including excessive or unrelated information.
- Don't Include Unrelated Hobbies: While it's okay to mention hobbies and interests, avoid listing unrelated hobbies that don't provide insight into your qualifications or character.
- Don't Include Generic Statements: If you choose to include hobbies or interests, provide specific details or examples rather than generic statements (e.g., "enjoy reading" without specifying genres).
- Don't Mention References: The additional information section is not the place to mention references or their contact information. This information is typically provided separately if requested.
- Don't Include Negative Information: Avoid mentioning negative or controversial information that could detract from your qualifications or professionalism.
References on a resume can provide credibility and support your qualifications, but they should be handled carefully. Here are some dos and don'ts for including references on your resume:
- Use a Separate References Page: Instead of including references directly on your resume, create a separate page titled "References." This page can be submitted when requested during the application process.
- Include Full Contact Information: For each reference, include their full name, job title, company, phone number, and email address. Ensure this information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Ask for Permission: Always ask for permission from your potential references before listing their contact information on your resume or providing it to employers. This courtesy is essential.
- Select Professional References: Choose individuals who can speak to your professional qualifications and character, such as former supervisors, colleagues, or mentors. Academic references can be included if you are a recent graduate with limited work experience.
- Customize for Each Application: Tailor your list of references to align with the job you're applying for. Select references who can speak to the skills and qualifications relevant to the position.
- Notify Your References: Inform your references when you are actively job searching and may share their information. Provide them with details about the positions you're applying for and your resume.
- Follow a Consistent Format: Use a consistent format for listing references, including their name, title, company, and contact information. Make sure it matches the rest of your resume's formatting.
- Don't Include References on Your Resume: Avoid listing references directly on your resume. This is an outdated practice and takes up valuable space that can be used for more relevant information.
- Don't Include "References Available Upon Request:" It's unnecessary to include this statement on your resume. Employers assume that you will provide references when requested.
- Don't Include Personal References: Do not include personal references such as family members or friends. Stick to professional references who can speak to your work-related qualifications.
- Don't Provide References Without Permission: Never share a reference's contact information without obtaining their explicit consent. This could damage your professional relationships.
- Don't Include Too Many References: Typically, three to four references are sufficient. Avoid overwhelming employers with a long list of references.
- Don't Include References in the Initial Application: Generally, you should not include your references or the references page when submitting your initial job application. Save it for later in the hiring process when the employer requests it.
- Don't Assume All Employers Want References: Some employers may not request references until later in the hiring process, so there's no need to provide them upfront.
- Don't Forget to Keep References Updated: Ensure that your references' contact information remains accurate. Notify them of any job changes or changes to their contact details.
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