Category Archives: Job Search

5 Things to leave off your resume (and why it doesn’t count as lying)

5 Things to leave off your resume
(and why it doesn’t count as lying)

Writing the perfect resume is a daunting task, even for the best qualified applicants.

While we spend a lot of time trying to decide what we should include (and how to get it all into that magic one-page format), there are also things that are perhaps best left out.

This is especially true for job seekers that have limited experience.

While it may be tempting to fill your resume up with additional details — if only to make it look like you have more than a few lines to say about yourself — sometimes it’s best to check out a larger font size and more blank space (which increases readability) rather than to turn the employer away with superfluous information.

Here are some of the things to look out for– and stay away from– when writing your resume:

1. The words ‘intern’ and ‘volunteer’

Many young graduates make the mistake of creating a special ‘internship’ or ‘volunteering’ section on their resume. This might make a lot of sense for someone who is trying to make a point about being dedicated to a particular cause. But for many of us, that unpaid law firm internship was much better aligned with our long-term career goals than that minimum wage job at McDonald’s.

home office resume writing laptop






So here’s the secret: just make a ‘professional experience’ section where you can list both paid and unpaid work experiences. Then, feel free to leave out the words ‘intern’ and ‘volunteer’ altogether.

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The Five-Point Resume Check

Think you’re ready to send off your CV? Take a second and scan the five-point resume check:

1. Is the formatting consistent?

You can choose out of hundreds of different acceptable styles for your resume, but the formatting needs to stay the same throughout the document. If you bold job titles and italicize company names, do it throughout. If one date reads 09/15/2016, the other should not read to Sept. or Sep. or September.

2. Does it fill up the page?

A resume should be one or two pages, depending on how much experience you have. It should not be 1.5 pages or half a page or one page with a second blank page that will inevitably spit out the printer should the recruiter decide to press print.

3. Is anything misspelled?

Microsoft Word offers a spell check, so there is no excuse for blatantly misspelled words in a resume. Of course, there are always inconsistencies that even spell check can’t grasp (especially since resumes have a tendency to use abbreviations and the like). So, ask an attentive friend to read through your work.

4. Do your bullet points use verbs?

Bullet points that describe your duties at a past job should use active, past-tense verbs. For example: generated seed money, wrote a successful grant proposal. Trying to make grammatically correct sentences will only make your document seem too long. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t use “I.”

5. Is it easy to read?

If everything else seems okay, ask a friend to quickly scan your resume. What pops out? What grabs the eye? How long does it take them to spot your education? Your most relevant work experience?

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Read more of my blogs about College Admissions topics.
The US College Personal Statement
Five Ways to De-Stress before a College Interview
Sciences Po: 4 Tips for Writing Your Motivation Letter
The Argument for the Gap Year