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Resume DO’s & DONT’s

Ad-VANCE Talent Solutions had the privilege of conducting a resume workshop at Lincoln Middle School a few weeks ago. Thank you to all of the parents who made it! We wanted to share some of the highlights of the workshop with everyone.

First off, remember that your resume is your first impression on any employer. In today’s job market, hiring managers often receive hundreds of resumes. In many cases,  you have about 30 seconds to impress a potential employer with your resume before they move on to the next one and you’re out of the running. Your resume is your one shot to represent yourself, professionally. So, make it a clear and professional highlight of your skills and experience.

A professional resume should be short and neat. If you can fit all pertinent information onto one page, do it! The most common & easy to read resume (and the one we recommend starting with) is the chronological resume, in which you list all of your employers within the last ten years, starting with the most recent. If you’re making a career change, list the positions which highlight your experience in that field first. Below are some of the main resume DO’s & DONT’s highlighted in our resume workshop:


  • Create an e-mail account strictly for your job search so that you can easily access & organize all replies.
  • Make it easy to read. Your resume is a summary, so keep it short but informative with clearly labeled sections (Skills, Work History, Education.)
  • Limit your resume to 1 or 2 pages. One page is ideal. (You can reduce font size or increase margins to fit more information on to each page.)
  • Be Honest! Embellishing your resume with skills & experience that you don’t have will only come back to bite you!
  • List all software you’re proficient in. Simply stating that you’re “proficient with computers” does not tell an employer what they want to know. If you’re skilled in Microsoft Excel, say so.
  • Utilize spelling and grammar check! Be sure that you use correct tenses. If you worked at a job in the past, be sure to use past tense verbiage.
  • Account for gaps in your work history. If you were a stay at home mom for five years, say so. A family-friendly employer will not hold that against you, but employers will hold large, unexplained gaps in work history against you.
  • Have at least 3 viable, professional references available. We recommend creating a separate document with references and furnishing them upon request.
  • For most  positions, use only black ink. While colors on your resume will certainly make you stand out, they are just not professional looking.
  • Create your resume as a Microsoft Word document. It shows professionalism. Most employers have this software, while many do not possess Adobe or other software used to create resumes.


  • Don’t include a picture of yourself. As attractive as you may be, pictures on a resume appear tacky and can send the wrong impression to employers. Instead, we recommend including the address to your LinkedIn page, if you have one.
  • Don’t give unneccesary details about your life. Unfortunately, including your age, race, political affiliation, etc. only opens the door for unwanted discrimination. Giving information about your personal interests is also unadvised – The employer quite frankly does not need to know if you like kayaking on the weekend.
  • Don’t list salary expectations or history, unless the employer asks for it.
  • Don’t list that you were “fired” from a job or give any details. That’s one of the worst first impressions you can give a potential employer.
  • Don’t use an Objective Statement, unless it is original and applies directly to the position that you are applying for. “I am seeking to obtain a job as a waitress” is not an objective statement worth putting on your resume. That says nothing about you or what you have to offer; it only takes up space on your resume and shows employers that you are unoriginal.
  • Don’t say “References Available Upon Request.” It’s an overused statement and should go without saying. Employers only need references if they’re really serious about hiring you. Instead, have your references in a separate document ready to provide to employers when they ask for them or when you interview.
  • Don’t cut & copy anything from the job description onto your resume. List your skills, not the exact skills listed on the ad. The employer wrote that job description, and they’ll recognize it word for word on your resume.

Finally, be sure to do more than just submit a resume. A resume is only a piece of paper, and can’t do all of the work for you. Without being pushy or annoying, follow-up on resume submittals. Also, be respectful to potential employers. More and more often, we have applicants, who have obviously been on the job hunt for a long time, get angry with us for unjustifiable reasons. We understand that the job hunt process is grueling, and it is easy to get frustrated or give up. We’re here to help you, not frustrate you. Don’t give up! Only apply to positions which you know you are qualified for, give employers some time to review your application, and follow-up! Most importantly, don’t give up!