7 Basic Resume Tips Everyone Should Know…but Don’t.

Last month, I wrote a blog on 7 Pro-Tips for the 21st Century Job Hunt. In follow-up to the pro-tips, I wanted to take a moment to talk about some basic tips that everyone seems to overlook.

Your formatting can make or break you!

I’ve come across countless resumes recently that all make a critical error in formatting.

They have things divided out with bullets, numbers, arrows, letters, etc…

a mix of breaking out more and more detail

to the point the reader is lost in what visually looks like


Was that hard to read? Lesson learned!


Multiple jobs with one company! 

I’m working with a client to fill an account executive position, and just this week alone, over 5 really good candidates were initially tossed aside because the hiring team perceived the candidate as moving jobs around too often. When I took a closer look, one person was actually promoted 5 times over 8 years with one company.

This should be a glowing, positive endorsement for that person’s performance, but instead, it prevented them from consideration, all because the resume wasn’t clear enough about the company vs. the job title. Make sure you balance font size, style, and indentation to be very clear about multiple promotions within one company.


Dates Matter!

I was asked this week my professional thoughts on why people so frequently overlook dating items on their resume. While I can hypothesis reasons, none of those reasons are actually good reasons. They all stem from some form of hiding something that could be perceived as negative, like switching jobs often. But here is the thing…no dates on a resume are still going to be perceived as negative…so date your stuff!


Number of Pages!

There are a variety of thoughts on the number of pages for a resume. Some feel 1 page is perfect. Others feel up to 4 pages is acceptable. I personally find a 2-page resume to have the perfect balance. It is short enough that you are forced to created short, clear, succinct job descriptions but long enough to also create a visually pleasing format. 1-page resumes have a tendency to lack information, and more so, are visually cluttered. If you think 3-4 pages are right for you, really make sure those extra pages have value and intrigue because there is a good likeliness they won’t be read.


List your contact information!

With jobs having hundreds of applications, please don’t make the hiring team hunt your contact information down. Your resume should have a header with your name, address or at least city location, phone number, email, and social media (at least your LinkedIn). Do you really want to lose a job opportunity because the hiring team pulled the wrong John Smith LinkedIn profile?


Arrogance vs. Confidence!

The way you present yourself on your resume is the hiring team’s first insight into your level of emotional intelligence. There is a fine line in writing between arrogance and confidence. While that line is small, it is a deal breaker for most. Here are two statements:

  • I increased my department revenue by 30% in my first year, far exceeding quota.
  • I am always the #1 sales guy wherever I go.


While both statements can be true, one is based on clear, measurable facts and the other is a boastful opinion. As well, even if you are the top person, the team is still a vital part of that success. If you dismiss the efforts of those who support you, the perception is you lack leadership, emotional intelligence, team work, and are generally ungrateful. So choose your words wisely.

Follow-Up vs. Harassment!

My last tip is not for the resume, but more how you behave after the resume is submitted. Following-up with a hiring team after your resume/application has been submitted and after an interview, is highly encouraged but it must be gracious. Thank them for their consideration and time. Express your enjoyment. Be specific on things you like about the people and process.

  • DO NOT call or email relentlessly asking if you made it to the next round or are being considered.
  • NEVER say things like, “can you just tell me if I’m out or in the running.”
  • DO NOT demand the hiring team give you a yes or no. No call means no. It’s pretty clear.
  • DO NOT internet stalk the company staff to give you internal information.


I know this sounds to many of you as ridiculous or seemingly uncommon behaviors, but I promise you they are not. I have often had candidates who were being considered for a position actually lose that consideration due to such behaviors…so know the difference between follow-up and harassment!


Think you’ve got the basics down? Check out the Pro-Tips!

Braedi Leigh