Your resume is your chance to make a great first impression. Devoting some extra time to polish it and carefully read it over can pay off. Here are our top 16 resume “DOs and DON’Ts” to help your resume stand out:
- DO: Stick to a simple format and keep it consistent
Don’t use elaborate formatting involving multiple fonts, colors, sizes, bold, italicized, underlined or boxed content. The formatting should make it easier for the reader to absorb the necessary information in a matter of seconds.
- DO: Be mindful of length
If you graduated in the last decade, your resume should be one page. We suggest one page per 10 years of experience as a general rule. Narrow the margins, remove irrelevant information, consolidate ideas, and make the bullet points as concise as possible to make everything fit into one page.
- DO: Use spellcheck
You’d be surprised how many people misspell months of the year and the word “liaise.”
- DON’T: Include a summary
Your resume is a summary of your qualifications and experience. You can use that extra space that you just saved to highlight additional responsibilities, projects, and examples of your work under each job.
- DO: Incorporate keywords commonly used in your industry and position
Recruiters and hiring managers generally spend a very short time screening for job-specific keywords to determine whether you would be a strong fit for a particular position.
- DON’T: State “References Available upon Request” at the end of your resume
It is a totally outdated expression and it is pretty self-explanatory that you will provide references if needed.
- DO: Ensure that all text is within the margins
- DO: Include any sports, activities, community service, and professional memberships
This can be an interesting way to discuss things that you and the hiring manager might have in common. However, leave out any weird hobbies or interests that might result in an awkward moment on the interview, and you certainly do not need to list every single award you earned as a tennis player back in 1998!
- DON’T: Include any personal information such as:
“married with two children,” your full date of birth, or your height.
- DO: Describe the company you work for
If your firm isn’t a recognizable name, then incorporate a brief line to describe the company to the reader. We often suggest to our candidates to outline the strategy, number of employees, and assets under management of the investment manager that they work for so that employers have a better sense of your position held within the firm based on these data points of the company.
- DON’T: List every single activity that you did as a college student!
If you graduated over two years ago, simply point out any memorable honors or activities that summarize your college experience. These are only relevant for entry level candidates.
- DON’T: Use personal pronouns
Using “I”, “we”, “our”, “my”, or “me” in a resume is not advisable. You should use these pronouns and articles in your cover letter only.
- DON’T: Use excessive abbreviations
Always spell out a phrase the first time you use it—never assume that the reader knows what you are referring to, even if they work in the same industry.
- DO: Have a friend or trusted professional look it over
It is always a good idea to have someone else reread your resume. A second set of eyes can catch any spelling or grammar errors and suggest alternatives to any awkward sentences.
- DO: Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for
We don’t suggest exaggerating any of the work that you have done but we strongly encourage you to highlight work that you’ve done as it relates to the job description for the position you are applying for. Take note of the key responsibilities and requirements to incorporate relevant bullet points to your own resume that will make a reader think “this person checks a lot of our boxes!”
- DO: Quantify whenever possible
Use numbers to tell employers how many people you have supervised, elaborate on what percentage you increased sales/operations, how much money you saved the firm, etc.