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Do's and don'ts of summer resume writing

Mary Brandel | July 23, 2013
The summer months can take on different meanings for job seekers. Some people may put their career aspirations on hold as they try to enjoy the longer daylight hours and (hopefully) vacation time. Others might take advantage of the emptier offices and distracted peers to ignite or jumpstart a job search. Either way, summer is not a bad time to spruce up your resume, especially with recent reports sending mostly positive signals about the hiring outlook.

Additionally, Ripaldi says, you could also limit the amount of detail you include for the older jobs you've held. "Your most recent position should have the most detail, and a lot of times, you can cover technologies you've used in the distant past in a summary of tech skills," he says.

DO consider "resume add-ons" to illustrate your capabilities: Increasingly, candidates are posting examples of what they can do, particularly with coding, on a variety of Web sites and social media, Silver says. They might use a site like Stackoverflow.com or create their own Web site. "It helps complete the picture of who they are and what they do more quickly," he says.

Dice is beta-testing a service that would enable employers to aggregate information from various Web sites (Twitter, Github, etc.) to form a "social profile" of candidates. "It will show them what the candidate looks like through their resume and their aggregated social information, relevant to the skills they're looking for," he says.

DON'T get overly creative: There's nothing wrong with wanting to stand out, especially when applying for a job like Web design, but there is such a thing as getting too personal or creative, Ripaldi says. He has seen candidates provide links to Web sites that display their personal interests and even side businesses, "but some hiring managers might be concerned that you're going to spend all your time on those activities instead of the job position," he says.

Some candidates also go too far with resume design. "You see resumes with all sorts of shapes and designs, and it can get too busy," Ripaldi says. "For a certain audience, it may work, but it's not for everyone" (think investment bank vs. ad agency).

DO proofread -- and proofread again: According to Ripaldi, resumes still cross his desk with grammatical mistakes and poor formatting. It's less important to choose a particular font type or size than using a consistent style throughout the resume. "Don't go with Arial 12 on the first page and something else on the second," he says. Other areas to watch for consistency include margins, indents and use of periods. "If you're a project manager with a three-page resume and the formatting isn't good, it's not a good reflection of that candidate," Ripaldi says.

The importance of spelling and grammar extends to any communiques between you and the employer. "Treat all communications as if you're still interviewing," Ripaldi says. "If they ask you to send your thoughts on something or you're thanking them for the interview, the content should be flawless."

DON'T try to game the system: Some candidates insert keywords into their resumes that are only somewhat related to their actual capabilities. "Employers are getting smarter about what people are doing to make themselves appear more relevant," Silver says. Trying to game the system will only make you look bad.

 

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