Dos and Don’ts of Resume Writing, According to an HR Expert

A resume is a critical part of your job hunting experience, as it’ll convince a potential employer to hire you. Here’s how to do it right, according to an HR expert.

During the pandemic, thousands of people lost their jobs, as businesses temporarily or even permanently closed down. In fact, at its height, the pandemic wiped out a whopping 1.7 million wage and salary jobs here in the country in the 12 months to January 2021. This reversed the gains made from 2015 to 2019, which saw an average annual growth of 4.6% for wage and salary employment. 

Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom any longer. As people slowly learned to live with COVID-19, the country’s economy began to get back on its feet, and so did the job market. A study by JobStreet has even shown that one in two companies—primarily made up of large companies with more than 160 employees—say that their hiring plan is now back to pre-pandemic levels. 

This is very good news for job hunters, especially those who are seeking new employment to recover from the losses brought about by the pandemic. Yes, job hunting can be a long and tricky experience that begins with finding the right job posting and sending in your application. But you can’t let your nerves get the better of you and end up sending a resume that either says too much or doesn’t include important information that employers seek. 

To help jobseekers like yourself with your resume, we asked for tips from AboitizPower’s Talent Attraction Manager and the CEO and Co-Founder of HIP Careers, Pat Dimayuga. Here’s what he has to say.

What to Put in Your Resume

According to Pat, the ideal length for resumes is around two to three pages. “You’re not submitting a biography or book,” he points out. 

Given the tight page limit, what kind of information takes priority? According to Pat, you should always include your educational attainment—as well as information about previous jobs you’ve had. What’s more, details like your address, contact number/s, email, and your LinkedIn URL should likewise take priority on your resume.

In writing a resume, it’s also important to note that:

1. Honesty is the Best Policy

Honesty is foremost the best policy and this will always remain true with resumes. Pat gently reminds you not to include anything that you haven’t done in reality. More importantly, if you’re an undergraduate—meaning you did not finish your bachelor’s degree—mention it on your resume. 

2. The Technicals are Just as Important

As for the technical aspects of writing a resume, Pat says that grammar and parallelism are important for recruiters. “Your current job’s description must use present tense verbs, while past jobs use [the] past tense,” he says. 

Pat also wants to remind everyone to always, always proofread and edit their work. After all, you wouldn’t want to make the wrong first impression because of typographical or grammatical errors. 

The Don’ts of Resume Writing

It is important to note that in resume writing, putting your best foot forward is important. But this too comes with limits, since it also needs to be realistic, authentic, and believable. With that being said, what should you not include?

1. Too Much Information

As far as personal information is concerned, data such as your height, weight, and birthday need not make an appearance on a resume. Pat explains that this information is needed not on a resume, but could be included in your biodata, which is a different thing altogether. 

One of the main highlights of a resume is your previous work experience. While this is your chance to list down your skills and credentials from your previous job that makes you qualified for the position, Pat cautions against listing too many responsibilities. Instead, he suggests only including three or four key roles, along with one bullet point for a notable project or achievement. 

Pat likewise does not recommend devoting a full page to the workshops and seminars you have attended.

2. The Minor Details

Believe it or not, it is actually not a requirement to include a photo on your resume. But if you want to include one, make sure to choose a professional photo. “Don’t use your graduation photo,” says Pat. “No selfies, please.”

He also reminds those who are sending resumes via email or other online platforms to be mindful of the file name. “The title of the file should also be given importance,” he explains. “Indicate your first name and last name. The format of the content should be clean and easy to read. And save it as a PDF.”

These details may seem rather trivial, but as he points out, “For me, as someone who is hiring, little things like this already show the person’s organizational skills and also his or her attention to details.”

Key Takeaway

Resume writing is an art form. It is almost like a marketing document—wherein you are marketing yourself to a company. After all, it will help convince employers to interview you, and eventually, hire you.

Think of it as a way to speak directly to your future employer. It should say why you want this job and what your qualifications are for said job. Thus, you’ll need to be specific about why they should hire you with your resume serving as a complement to why you deserve the job.

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