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Having a compelling resume is essential if you want to land a new job opportunity. While writing a resume seems like a straightforward venture, it’s surprisingly easy to make a misstep that could hurt your chances of getting selected. If it’s time to revamp your job application for an upcoming job search, here are some resume writing dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

Do Use a Hybrid Format

In most cases, the hybrid resume format – which incorporates the best of what chronological and functional resumes have to offer while bypassing potentially problematic points – is the best choice. Essentially, you’ll create a resume that leads off with a professional summary. Next, you’ll have a brief bullet-pointed skills section, followed by your work history and education.

The only change you may want to make to that format is to switch the work history and education sections if you’re a recent graduate with no relevant work experience. That way, one of your strongest credentials is more prominent on your application.

Don’t Go Over 2 Pages

Generally, a one-page resume works best if you’re new to the workforce and don’t have many positions to discuss. However, a two-page resume is perfectly fine if you have a couple of roles under your belt. The issues start if you go past the two-page mark.

Most hiring managers consider a resume over two pages excessive, and the odds that they’ll read everything on an application of that size is slim. The only exception is usually upper management positions, so if you’re not aiming at that type of role, streamline your resume to keep it on two pages.

Do Be Cautious About Templates

There are many amazing resume templates out there, but there are also some designs that can cause problems. The two-column resume is an example of the latter. While it looks modern and is attractive when printed, some applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that screen resumes using automation can’t read them correctly. As a result, they may mismark your application as a poor match simply because it didn’t scan it properly.

Usually, it’s better to stick with a more traditional design. Forgo columns, use traditional headers, don’t include images, and keep the color palette simple.

Don’t Forget About White Space

White space on your resume makes the content easier to read, so don’t cram every available spot with text. Instead, give everything room to breathe, as that makes your resume easier to skim.

Also, don’t shrink down your page margins too far. Those page margins give hiring managers a spot to grip a physical copy of your resume without covering up any of the content. Plus, it makes your application seem less cramped, and that works in your favor.

Do Include Relevant Keywords

When you update your resume, you want to include keywords found in the job description to position yourself as a strong match. Ideally, you should incorporate them exactly as they’re presented in the job ad – using the same spelling and punctuation – as that’s likely what the ATS is programmed to find.

Don’t Write Numbers as Words

Numbers on your resume stand out visually, drawing the hiring manager’s eye to that part of your application. However, that only works if you use actual digits. Spelling out the words causes any quantified details to simply blend in with the rest of the text, increasing the odds that they’ll get overlooked.

While traditionally, you’re supposed to write out the numbers one through ten (and then use digits for 11 and up), when you’re creating a resume, forgo that advice. Instead, go with the digits even if the number is below 11.

TempStaff Wants to Help You

Ultimately, the dos and don’ts above can help you revamp your resume the right way. If you’d like to learn more or want to partner with a recruiter for your next job search, TempStaff wants to hear from you. Contact us today.


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