Do's and Don'ts | Résumés and Interviews

Résumé Do’s
  • Use plain, easy-to-read fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman
  • Keep font size from 10pt to 12pt for maximum readability
  • Margins: at least one-half inch—give the reviewer room for notes
  • Keep text formatting to a minimum to simplify cutting and pasting
  • Use your name and the position your applying for in the file name (JasonSmith_ResearchEngineer.doc)
  • Include your name, email address, and primary phone number
  • State your Career Objective and how it pertains to the job you’re pursuing—be specific
  • List pertinent skills, applications, and experience so hiring managers can easily locate each one
  • Include the college or university you attended, where it’s located, the degree or certification earned, when you earned it, and any minor area(s) of study
  • Use action words-- led, directed, created, managed and implemented
  • Highlight achievements, activities, honors, awards, certifications, patents and/or published works
  • If you’re a new graduate include relevant school projects and activities as well as extracurricular activities that build soft skills (attitude, relationships, communication). Provide examples.


Résumé Don’ts
  • Use kitschy fonts that are hard to read and unprofessional
  • Use font sizes that are too big (>12pt) or too small (<10pt)
  • Minimize margin area to squeeze in extra information
  • Avoid underlines, italics, tables, graphics, and text boxes that can interfere with uploading
  • Submit a digital file in a format other than PDF or Microsoft Word
  • Use an inappropriate email address or outgoing voicemail message
  • Make generalized statements about being a people person or wanting to save the world
  • Include non-specific items that you can’t substantiate with measureable examples
  • List every school you attended if you didn’t earn a degree or certification
  • Use stilted language or too many adjectives and adverbs
  • Include inappropriate or irrelevant activities and organizations
  • Forget to proofread—multiple times


Interview Do’s
  • Research the company, position, and people—use online resources and your professional network for advice and insight
  • Check social media sites and research sample interview questions online that are behavioral based the require examples of your experiences
  • Get expert insight--contact your school’s Career Services Center for guidance and practice interviews
  • Prepare a list of questions you can ask the person interviewing you
  • Dress for success
  • Smile naturally and sit up straight when interviewing—even if you’re on the phone
  • Greet each person interviewing you with a firm handshake and eye contact
  • Build rapport but stick to safe topics
  • Ask the interviewer what’s important about the position and address those points with specific details of your own experience and background
  • Ask for clarification or repeat the question back to the interviewer if you’re not sure you understand the question asked
  • Close out the interview by asking the interviewer if there are outstanding issues or concerns and when to expect a decision
  • Let the interviewer know you’re interested in the job, express thanks for the person’s time, and offer a firm handshake
  • Send a note—handwritten or email--thanking each person for the interview opportunity


Interview Don’ts
  • Wing it or think you can get by on charm, wit, or good looks
  • Come to an interview without preparing examples in your mind that are worthwhile to share and highlight a broad range of your experiences
  • Be superficial or presumptuous
  • Assume that Casual Fridays applies to job candidates
  • Slump, use bad posture, fold arms or other mannerisms that could give the impression you aren’t interested
  • High five or fist bump the person interviewing you
  • Bring up political or divisive issues
  • Throw out generic responses that aren’t pertinent or fail to address what the person tells you about the job
  • Rush to answer at the risk of answering inappropriately
  • Ask about salary or pay range
  • Let there be any doubt about your desire to land the role
  • Contact the people who interviewed you via text, Twitter, or Facebook Friend request

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