The 10 Do's And Don'ts Of Padding Your Resume
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The following are the do’s and don’ts for how you should appropriately pad your resume.
I received these spectacular inside tips from a friend who worked as a graduate school career counselor.
1.) DO always include an email address and phone number.
This is pretty obvious, but it’s a good one. You should be aware that it’s crucial to give employers several ways to contact you.
What you might not know is that it’s actually optional to include your physical home address on your resume. If you are wary about giving out such relatively sensitive information, you can leave this out (but you should still include your email address and phone number, of course).
However, my friend stated that many employers view applicants who include their home address as more open than those who don’t, so you should weigh any discomfort over sharing this information with that.
2.) DO strategically leave out information.
Okay, so this might not be padding as much as taking away, but unlike with choosing not to include your home address, this can actually add value to your resume rather than detract. For instance, if your GPA is less than 3.0, you should take it off of your resume.
Use your judgment and do the same for information that’s not mandatory and may be less than flattering.
3.) DO include an “Objective,” but only if it’s tailored to each job.
Having an Objective on a resume is fine, but only if you are going to make it unique for each job you’re handing it in to.
On the other hand, if you are not going to make the effort or are looking for a variety of jobs, you should leave the “Objective” section off of your resume so you don’t box yourself out of a job.
4.) DO include skills that show you are tech savvy.
First of all, every resume should have a “Skills” section (and it should come after the “Work Experience” segment), but even more importantly is what you include in it.
My career counselor friend recommends to use this area to showcase that you’re tech savvy, and the more obvious you are about it, the better. Don’t assume employers automatically know that you have at least basic skills.
For instance, when detailing the software you are proficient in, even listing obvious software like Microsoft Word and Excel is a great idea. This will allow employers looking for this experience to know right away that you are proficient in it, which will bump your resume up the list.
Don’t believe me? Take this as proof: my friend was explicitly told that she was almost passed over for a job because, despite being very capable with Microsoft Excel, her employers (who were specifically looking for someone with advanced Excel skills) couldn’t tell her level of proficiency from her resume.
She was lucky enough to get an interview where she could explain her talents with Excel, and she did eventually land the job. However, that just goes to show that you should be very obvious when showcasing your tech capabilities on a resume.
As a side note, if you want to list your typing speed as one of your skills, anything above 50 words per minute is acceptable to include, but you should leave off anything below that.
5.) DO list a “Volunteer Experience” section.
This segment, in which you list the volunteer positions you’ve performed, is valuable because “it shows [you’re] intrinsically motivated to help people and not just doing an activity for financial compensation,” my friend said.
However, like the rest of the resume, be sure to follow the length rules (under the ‘Don’t’ section below this) for this segment.
6.) DO put the “Education” section first on a resume (after the “Objective,” if included).
Although I’m listing this tip last under the “Do” tips, your “Education” experience, in which you list where and when you graduated from college or your other secondary education experience, should either be the first thing on the resume or after the “Objective” section (if you are including one).
This is because the employment rate for people with a degree is higher, so this immediately makes the student a more competitive candidate.
7.) DON’T list a skill you can’t back up.
A hiring manager at one internship during my college career made this very clear: a person is allowed to exaggerate their skills a little in an interview or on a resume, but they better make sure they’ve learned what they claimed they can already do by the time the job starts.
If you can’t deliver on the skills you’ve put down on your resume, it really doesn’t look good.
8.) DON’T make a resume longer than one page.
To be more specific, your resume should be only one page if you have only a Bachelor’s degree. If you list everything and find that your resume is longer than one page, chances are you’re putting down way too much information.
To resolve this, take out the oldest entries (such as the earliest work experience) until the resume is one page or slightly less.
On the other hand, if you have your Master’s degree, your resume can be two pages. Furthermore, if you have more advanced knowledge such as a PhD, your resume can be three to four pages.
9.) DON’T include more or less than four to five bullet points for each section.
While we’re on the topic of resume length, my friend emphasized that you shouldn’t list more or less than four to five bullet points for each section (such as the “Work Experience” segments).
Less than four to five bullet points reveals that you don’t have enough experience, while more than that amount discourages employers from reading more than just the beginning details.
10.) DON’T go crazy with resume layout and formatting.
Instead, your resume should be conservative (such as in style and overall display) if you are applying for a traditional job.
However, this can be ignored if you are applying to a more creative job, such as a marketing or design position. In this case, you can be more free with your resume’s layout and display.
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