A resume can be a tricky thing. On the one hand, you want to include everything about your professional experiences from the moment you graduated high school. Alternatively, you only have one page, three at most, to showcase your talents and don’t want to go overboard. No pressure, right?  Trust us. We get it. Scour the Internet, and you are bound to come up with plenty of writing tips, templates, and guidelines such as reverse chronological order, professional fonts, and healthy margins. But here, we reveal even more directives and insightful do’s and don’ts direct from our hiring managers, who have seen and reviewed thousands of resumes.

In previous decades the resume was a necessary selling tool. Today it’s a way to showcase your talents and ensures you’re “searchable” via job board aggregators and application tracking systems (ATS).

Want to skip ahead? Click here to see an example of the types of resumes we send to hiring managers for construction management and manufacturing jobs.


Resume Writing Do’s

DO utilize resume building utilities

Did you know there are free online resume writing and formatting tools to help create a professional version that will pass the resume aggregator test? While the person doing the interview will eventually see your resume, it will often undergo a scan via an applicant tracking system which scans and stores the data for a recruiting profile. If the software can’t recognize your wording because it’s superfluous, you could be overlooked for the position even if you’re more than qualified.

DO include your LinkedIn URL in the contact section of your resume if your industry calls for it.

Suppose you’re applying for a position in management and consulting or even recruiting. In that case, employers will expect to see your LinkedIn URL at the top of the page where you put your name and contact information. In some cases, a potential employer won’t even look at a resume if this information is missing.

DO keep a pick me up file.

When it comes to writing your resume, there is nothing worse than sitting down to a blank screen. If you keep what we like to call a pick-me-up file, things will go much smoother. You may want to record your previous jobs, achievements, professional recognitions, affiliations, publications, facts, and dates in this file.

DO include actionable items.

Hiring managers want to see more than lists on your resume. They want actionable items. For example, if you are applying for a recruiting position, include how many outbound calls you made in previous jobs a day.  And what was the percentage or number of leads were you able to convert. Tell us your quarterly and annual numbers if you’re applying for a sales position. Did you meet or exceed your quotas? Did you make President’s club?  For engineering, which is what we do a lot of hiring for, we are looking for facts and dates in a logical order.

DO send a separate e-mail to the hiring manager, letting them know you applied for the job.

Many websites like Indeed, Monster, and more make it easy to click “apply” and submit your resume for a position. However, the downside of doing so is that your resume goes into a LONG line of resumes and the applicant tracking systems. In these instances, you are just one in a significant cue of applicants. So, do make sure you stand out from the crowd by dropping a line to the person doing the hiring.

DO have different versions of your resume.

If a job requires a specific skill set, like marketing, create a resume showing those talents. Doing so is a great way to streamline your resume so you don’t end up with pages of information that aren’t relevant to the position you are applying for.

DO show your personality.

If you are applying for an engineering position, use a professional font and straightforward language. If you are applying for a marketing or sales position, it’s okay to be a bit savvier. The point is to showcase your talent and personality through language and sell, sell, sell yourself. Hiring managers want to know you’re not afraid to cold call or think outside the box regarding marketing ideas, especially if you’re applying for a recruiting position.

The Don’ts of Resume Writing

DON’T drop names of people you know at the company but forget to tell them you did so.

You wouldn’t drop a name on your resume, but perhaps you will in the cover letter. The point is not to make it a surprise when the hiring manager mentions this to the associate.

DON’T wait for the hiring person to bring up a gap in experience on your resume.

If it’s been a while since you’ve worked in a particular market segment, that’s okay. Just address it in your notes to the hiring manager. Post-COVID, one in four individuals has been making a career change. So you’re certainly not alone. Our recommendation is to state precisely what you did and what you have been doing in the meantime.  Perhaps you want to say something like, “COVID-19 gave me time to rethink my career goals and take online classes in my area of interest in-between positions.”

DON’T be afraid to follow up.

Just as you want to send a separate correspondence, if you have clicked “apply” on a job site, don’t be afraid to send another e-mail following the interview. You can summarize why you are the right fit for the job and ask what the next steps should be.

DON’T include any typos.

Have someone else give your resume a read before submitting it for a job opening. Another great tip is to read it aloud, which is a great way to catch any repetition or omissions. You may also want to use the spelling review tool in word or download an add-on like Grammarly to help you wordsmith your resume.

DON’T include unprofessional contact information.

Sometimes a cheeky e-mail can be cute. But not when you are searching for a job. Avoid getting your resume thrown away by including a simple and professional e-mail address. In other words, skip the joeloverboy@gmail.com. For more helpful career tips, access our resource page.

As always, hiring top talent is essential to the success of any business, and our team is here to help. Collaborate with FootBridge today to fill your open positions. For candidates – we are always looking to source the next top performer for continued business success.