Resume Checklist: 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts
By Amanda Clark
Writing a resume is relatively easy—but perfecting one takes work. There are just so many components you have to keep in mind, so many elements you have to juggle—all while keeping the final product brief and to-the-point.
So we thought we’d help you out. As you refine your own resume, use this quick checklist—which includes five things your resume needs, and then five things it really doesn’t.
5 Things to Include on Your Resume
This is by no means an exhaustive list of resume must-haves, but it certainly covers some important basics.
- Include a strong summary of qualifications. The top of your resume should feature a synopsis of your career thus far—basically, a value proposition, a statement of the benefits you might bring to an employer. Even if a recruiter doesn’t read anything else on your resume, this summary should provide a basic sense of who you are and why you should be hired.
- Also include a list of core competencies. Your resume needs a bulleted list of some of your key skills—ideally tailored to match the keywords/skills listed in the job description you’re eyeing.
- Include action-oriented statements. Your career summary should be focused on things you’ve done—achievements with metrics and measurable results, whenever possible.
- Include white space! Also make sure there are section breaks to make your resume easier to read.
- Include clear, consistent branding. Everything on your resume should ultimately indicate why you’re the best person for the job in question.
5 Things NOT to Include on Your Resume
And, here are five things you can omit from your resume document:
- Don’t include a career objective. If you have an executive summary—as we talked about above—there is simply no need for an objective. Additionally, a career objective will date you; frankly put, they are no longer used.
- Don’t include anything that makes your resume difficult to read. Tiny font, unbroken blocks of text, slim margins—remember that the point isn’t to cram everything onto the page, but rather to present a nice, fluid summary of your value.
- Don’t have typos or grammatical errors, either. Proof, proof, proof!
- Don’t include a mere list of responsibilities. Focus not just on what you did, but on your impact.
- Don’t include information that is overly personal. Your photo, your birthday, your religious or political preferences, even your hobbies—such things are almost never necessary or helpful on your resume.