Writing Your Resume – Helpful Dos and Don’ts For Job Search Success

Times are tough. A month or two of unemployment can drag on to six or eight months pretty easily. And it's only going to get worse since the jobs picture lags the state of the economy.

If you're out of work, you may be getting anxious. Your unemployment may be running out, you're wondering about health insurance - and with each passing day, the pool of competitors continues to grow.

Your anxiety is understandable.

That said, avoid allowing your apprehension and your zeal to land something to push you over the line. The "candidate as stalker" syndrome won't generate results. (Actually, on second thought, it might generate a result...but definitely not the one you want.)

This is the person who calls the recruiter every week without fail. "Just checking in," he says. The recruiter has indicated the firm has no jobs that are a match for this candidate right now...but no matter! What if they forget about him? He's not going to chance it! (Hey...he's got this recruiter's home number. Forget the office; maybe he'll start calling there...)

This is the person who interviews for a job and starts with the follow-up calls the next day - and phones every day after that. 

Pestering people is not the way to get results. You may be trying to demonstrate that you're enthusiastic or sincere, but believe me - this is not the message you are sending. You're showing that person on the other end of the phone that you have exceptionally poor judgment or that you are desperate - and you can count on the fact that it will reflect poorly on you.

Are you looking for a job? If this is the first time that you have been job seeking in years, you might need to write a resume. If this is also something you haven’t done in years, here are a few helpful dos and don’ts.
DO write what you need to write and then be done. For years, we were always told to keep our resumes limited to one page. This is a good rule to follow, but sometimes one page isn’t enough. You don’t want to eliminate some job skills or important training just to get everything to fit onto one page. If you need more than one page, use it.
DON’T make your resume hard to read. There are a number of aspects that you want to keep in mind when doing this. For starters, the format must be reader-friendly. A modern and “cool” format is neat and eye-catching, but it becomes a major pain if it is difficult to read. Long sentences and paragraphs also often make a resume un-friendly to the read. Many job seekers find success using bullet points.
DO place extra focus on the skills or job responsibilities that are transferable. This means you want to focus on or highlight any responsibilities from former jobs that can benefit you for the position in which you are applying for now. Don’t omit other responsibilities, but be sure to emphasize on the transferable ones because they do so that you are a qualified job candidate.
DON’T list personal references on your resume. In fact, you might not need to list any references at all. A lot of job seekers like to do the whole “references available upon request.” This is fine, but make sure those references you do include are business related ones.
DO have a good flow. As you know, there are many ways that you can compile a resume. You can go the functional route and have all related jobs at the top of the list. Or, you can go the chronological route and start with your most recent jobs and then work your way down. Either approach will work, but the key is to keep a flow. Pick one format or the other and stick with it.
DON’T use fluff or fillers. If you didn’t already know, this includes putting relevant things on your resume. What qualifies as irrelevant? Volunteer work from 20 years ago, high school activities from 20 years ago, hobbies you “sometimes” enjoy, and so forth.