Resume Do’s and Don’ts



Posted in Candidates, Candidate Resources, Resume Advice

Resume Tips

Don’t: Take short-cuts, use short-hand, include abbreviations or slang.

This will signal to the hiring manager that you are too lazy to spell out the entire word. Your resume is the first impression that a hiring manager receives. It is a formal document that should be a clear, professional representation of you, on paper. Take the extra time and effort to spell out each word.

  • Symbols: spell out “and” instead of “&”
  • Numbers: spell out “seven” instead of “7” – unless you are citing statistics for impact value.
  • Months/Years: spell out “January, 2006” instead of “Jan., ‘06”

Don’t: Delete. Do: Be Relevant.

  • Do not eliminate valuable content in an attempt to fit your resume onto a 1-page document.
  • Do not try to squeeze more information by modifying font size or font selection.
  • Do include all relevant, industry experience - - as long as it is relevant for the job you are applying for.

Do: Tailor Your Resume

If you are applying to a specific position, it is recommended to have a copy of the job description in front of you, and “check off” each of the duties/responsibilities listed which you have experience in performing. For each duty/responsibility, construct a sentence explaining how you meet that requirement and listing what tools you used to accomplish that task.

For example, if the job description says, Converts and manipulates data for loading into the firm's database systems.”

You can address this requirement by stating, “Manipulated raw data files using SQL scripting technology, then used IPRO eCapture to cull, de-dup, near-dup, view metadata, and finally exported the load file into the firm’s database system, Relativity.”

By explaining what you did, how you did it, and what technology tools you used to accomplish this task, you signify your ability to perform this required task, using language tracks that the hiring manager will understand. Most job descriptions are written by Human Resource professionals who may not have an in-depth, technical understanding of the tasks required. Most job descriptions often portray an over-broad, sometimes vague, description of the job. To truly catch the hiring manager’s attention, you want to communicate your abilities in the language of the industry. Do not make the mistake of “dumbing down” your resume, so the guy on the street can understand it. Make sure your resume speaks at a highly educated, technical level.  – “Speak geek” and the right people will take notice.

Do: Emphasize Accomplishments

As you revise your resume, use the job description as a guide to help you emphasize parts of your job history that most closely mirror the skills needed for the job. Highlight your accomplishments, but do so honestly. Don't risk losing your opportunity for an interview by over-representing yourself. In reflecting upon your professional background, think closely about what experiences you take the most pride in.

  • Did you go ‘above and beyond’ to ensure that a project was completed on time?
  • Did you play a valuable role in winning a client, solving a problem, or implementing best practices?
  • Were you the last man, or woman, standing in the wee hours of the morning to ensure that documents were ready for trial the next morning?
  • Do you have the innate ability to remain calm under pressure, so that others recognize you as a “calming force” in stressful situations?

If so, be sure to articulate this in your resume. These are personality traits that often go un-measured, but never un-noticed. You may not see these requirements listed on the job description, but addressing these personal attributes in your resume will catch the attention of the hiring manager.

Don’t: Use Repetitive Language

It's easy to get in a rut by using the same words repeatedly throughout the resume. Common culprits include "managed" or "supervised" or “performed”. Even if you have to pull out the old thesaurus to help you come up with more interesting language – do it!  In our example, you might substitute "directed" for "managed", or "monitored" instead of "supervised". Think of using technical terms:

  • Extracted ESI from…..
  • Imported data into…
  • Exported data out of…
  • Wrote scripts using….
  • Manipulated raw data files using….
  • Culled…
  • De-duped…

Your spell check may not recognize these terms, but an experienced hiring manager surely will!

Your goal is to keep the hiring manager interested in your resume – that means you need for the reader to make it through the entire document and still want to know more about you. Even if you don’t see yourself as a writer, push yourself to use interesting language that will captivate your audience.

Powerful language can move you to the top of the list of qualified candidates. Choose your words carefully to set yourself apart from the competition and achieve results!

Do: Get an Expert Opinion

For honest feedback and a professional perspective, send your resume to an LTS Recruiter. Our team of dedicated, industry experts have reviewed thousands of resumes. We are educated career counselors, passionate about helping you properly convey and communicate your strengths on paper. Remember, your resume is always held in strict confidence and will never be shared with anyone outside of LTS without your explicit consent.

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