Resume illustration on maroon background

Resume Dos and Don’ts: How To Write a Great Resume

Monday, October 18, 2021

Resumes are crucial in the world of business. When you’re applying for a job, your resume is often the first thing a potential employer looks at. How you present yourself in your resume could be the difference between landing the job of your dreams and not getting invited in for an interview. So how can you go about grabbing an employer’s attention? Experts at the Carlson School’s Graduate Business Career Center shared some dos and don’ts for your next job search.


Look For Keywords
When you’re putting together your resume for a job, pay careful attention to the job postings that interest you. Look for keywords in the job description and include those words—or examples of your experiences in those areas—where relevant in your experience or skills sections.

Be Specific About Your Career Accomplishments
Instead of only listing your job duties in your experience section, highlight some of your major accomplishments, and be specific. Instead of saying you “increased sales,” include by how much and over what time frame. Writing you “increased sales by 33% in the first six months” lets hiring managers know much more about both your experience and your job performance.

Use Active Language
While being specific, be sure to use active language without extraneous words. If your resume is too long or can be hard to read in places, shorten your sentences with more powerful words and ideas that are more concise. Simple sentences with easy-to-understand terms are the way to go.

Proofread Your Resume
This may seem like a simple step, but giving your resume another look or having a friend read it over can go a long way. An embarrassing typo or mistake could cost you a chance to interview.


Make Your Resume Too Long
Unless you’re at the C-suite level, most resumes should be one or two pages long. Hiring managers may be looking over dozens or even hundreds of resumes for the same position, so write in a concise manner. The strongest resumes are often brief and to the point.

Include Experience That Is Not Relevant
Unless it’s an entry-level position, there likely is no reason to include your experience as a summer lifeguard. Keep your experience on your resume relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Use Cliche or Jargon
Unless they’re specifically mentioned in the job description, avoid cliche phrases like “team player” or “detail-oriented.” Many of these types of phrases are overused and ring hollow nowadays.

Include Your GPA 
If you have years of experience in your industry, hiring managers likely don’t need this information. Many will only care about your highest level of education and what and where you studied.