Resume Do's and Don'ts

Posted: July 11, 2018 9:15:00 AM CDT

Resume Do's and Don'tsWhen you’re ready to apply for jobs, every aspect of your application needs to be in line—especially your resume. Along with a cover letter, your resume acts as a first impression and deciding factor in whether you land an interview.

There are many tips and resources for creating a strong resume, which has to be more than just a list of what you can do, where you’ve attended college, or former positions you’ve held. Because employers may be going through piles of applications to find the right hire, you’ll need to tailor your resume to stand out from the crowd—all in a single-page document.

So, here are 10 Do’s and Don’ts from the University of Nebraska at Kearney for creating an effective resume.


Speak To Your Audience – Customize your resume for each job application. Make a deliberate effort to highlight your qualifications that match each specific job description. Today, many employers use screening software to search for specific keywords in a document. When creating your resume, research the company to identify relevant keywords to include. 

Keep Design in Mind – Make your resume easy on the eyes. We are a visually driven society, so be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Use legible, appropriate-sized fonts. Book print fonts like Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, and Verdana work well between a font size of 10 and 12.
  • Include margins on all four sides.
  • Be clear and consistent with formatting. Creating a hierarchy of headings and subheadings helps an employer read your resume at a glance. Contrasting colors are also a good addition.

Define Your Value – Any job will have other applicants who are qualified and capable, so you will need to convey the value you can bring and what makes you stand apart. Your resume is the place to do this. Ask yourself these questions, or reach out to others you’ve worked with or who know you well:

  • What benefit or contribution do I add?
  • What are my greatest strengths?
  • What do others say are my greatest strengths?
  • What do others see as the value I add?
  • How do others describe me?

This is the time to sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to be elaborate and define what makes you stand out.

Give Your References a Heads Up – Notify your references that they may be getting calls or emails about you. Be sure to send them your most recent resume and a link to the position you’re applying for so they're up to date and have the relevant information.

Proofread…and Proofread Again – Employers often perceive errors on a resume as a reflection of your attention to detail. Go over your finished resume a few times and ask someone else to read it. It’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes!


Misrepresent Your Accomplishments or Qualifications – This will never turn out well for you. Be honest in anything you communicate to an employer.

Get Too Personal – Although many employers have nondiscrimination policies for the hiring process, you don’t want to become susceptible to any potential bias or perceptions. Don't include personal information such as your photo or physical attributes, marital status, or political or religious affiliations in your resume.

Include High School Credentials – If you have a college degree, omit your high school educational information from your resume. Unless high school is the highest level of education you’ve completed, it is typically not relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Create Fluff – You want to be authentic in your resume, which should be in your own words and showcase your own personality. If your resume doesn’t reflect yourself, it’s not serving its purpose. It’s okay to use a resume template available online, but be sure to avoid “fluffy” talk, overused terms, or clichéd phrases. 

Forget to Check Your Social Media – Including social media can be an advantage if you limit the handles to your accounts that show your professional online presence. The most important one is LinkedIn. Be sure your account is updated, resembles your resume, and aligns with the jobs you seek. Your online presence is among the first things an employer will see, whether you link to it or not. These additional tips can help you create a professional social presence.  

Above all, your resume has the potential to be the single greatest tool in landing your new job, so always keep enhancing it. See additional career tips through UNK Academic and Career Services.

By: Dylan Munson

Category: General, eCampus

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