Do’s and don’ts for writing your best resume

Marketing yourself in your resume

2 min read

Woman with white shirt holding paper smiling at someone across a desk.

Think of your resume as your first impression. It’s your gateway into a new organization in written form. The recruiter hasn’t met you before, and this is your chance to highlight your greatest career accomplishments. Generally, your resume should have information about your skills, qualifications, and what you can contribute to the company.

Resumes can be challenging to write, especially for job seekers who don’t like to talk about themselves. If that’s the case for you, don’t put off updating your resume to your final task before applying for a new job. Treating it as an afterthought—and rushing to complete it for a job opening you really want—can lead to mistakes. Your resume is your way of marketing yourself. When creating it, focus on these do’s and don’ts to catch the recruiter’s attention and land yourself an interview.

Resume writing do’s

Do tailor your resume to the job posting. Most job postings list minimum qualifications and job duties, so make sure your resume highlights your skills and experiences that match what’s in the posting.

Do show your accomplishments. You’ve worked hard in your career, and you should be proud. Recruiters love to see your achievements and results, so don’t be afraid to include them in your resume.

Do lead with actions you took. Use action words to describe your job responsibilities. Replace phrases like "in charge of" with words like managed, coached, or led. Show the recruiter you take ownership of your job responsibilities.

Do update your resume regularly. As you crush your work goals, or your job objectives change, make sure to keep your resume up to date. Don’t be afraid to have someone else look it over for spelling and grammar errors.

Resume writing don’ts

Don't assume recruiters know your experience. Whether you’re submitting your resume to a new company or applying for a promotion within your current one, don’t assume the recruiter knows about your personal accomplishments. Now is the time to boast about your achievements.

Don't put every specific detail of your experience in your resume. While listing out your accomplishments, try not to go overboard and include every detail. Remember this is a summary of your accomplishments.

Don't use I statements in your resume. Resumes are often written in implied first-person language, so the use of I or other personal pronouns such as me, my, our, and we should be avoided. Getting rid of personal pronouns makes your statements more objective and confident.

Don't write your entire resume in present tense. Only your current job should be in present tense, all past work experience and accomplishments should be written in past tense.

Recruiters spend a lot of time reading resumes. When marketing yourself through your resume, make sure your accomplishments are clear and concise. Remember to align your resume/experience/skills to the job for which you’re applying.

Keisha Fowler started at Progressive in 2019 as a services consultant and currently loans in to Progressive's Talent Marketing team as a Recruitment Marketing Specialist. Prior to joining Progressive, Keisha spent three years managing communications in the social media marketing field. She enjoys writing and content creation and dedicates her Saturdays to reading.

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