Resume Writing Tips:
Easy Do's and Don'ts

These resume writing tips are simple and easy to follow. And that’s terrific news for most of us!

You don’t have to be a Pulitzer prize-winning writer to put together a well-organized, professional-looking resume. But you do need to use clear English and you do need to avoid a few pitfalls. Take a peek at these.

(And please add your own Do’s and Don’ts at the bottom of the page so that other readers can benefit from your experience!)

Resume Writing Tips: Do This

file cabinet labeled Do's and Don'ts

Formatting your resume

  • Do select the resume format appropriate to your skills and experience.
  • Do print your resume on quality white or ivory paper.
  • Do use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Do be prepared to format your resume for electronic submission.

Writing your resume

  • Do state a job target or objective. (Here are tips for writing a resume objective.)
  • Do use active, descriptive verbs when describing your job history. (Verb tips here.)
  • Do quantify your skills and experience with numbers, facts and statistics.
  • Do write concisely – eliminate verbiage.
  • Do proofread your resume.  Clean writing indicates professionalism.
  • Do present a professional appearance in every element of your resume.
  • Do be honest.

Writing your cover letter

  • Do write a quality cover letter to accompany your resume.
  • Do address your cover letter to a specific person (“Dear Dr. Smith.”)

Resume Writing: Don't Do This

Formatting your resume

  • Don’t print your resume on colored or patterned paper.
  • Don’t use unusual fonts or borders.

Writing your resume

  • Don’t include personal information, such as date of birth, family/marriage status, religious/political preference, and hobbies -- unless those details are relevant to the position you’re seeking.
  • Don’t list your previous job titles without explanation of your duties.
  • Don’t list references by name.
  • Don’t mention salary requirements.
  • Don’t be careless with typos and errors – they indicate sloppiness.
  • Don’t stretch the truth.

Writing your cover letter

  • Don’t send a resume without a cover letter. (Cover letter writing tips.)
  • Don’t address your cover letter to a generic title or position (“Dear Personnel Director.”)
  • Don’t include a photograph.

Use a Worksheet to Gather Information

Organize your information with this free resume worksheet as you build a winning resume.


Get more resume writing tips on our Pinterest board.

More Tips for Writing Resumes

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3 main resume writing formats ...

Quiz: which resume writing format should you use?

Writing a good cover letter: a step-by-step writing guide ...

Cover Letter Writing Tip: get the reader to take one step ...


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