PRSA Public Relations, Marketing and Communications Jobs

Five Resume Don'ts

It’s easy to obsess over every detail of your resume because who knows what skill or accomplishment, however small, may catch that HR rep’s eye.

But whatever you do to set yourself apart, make sure you’re not making these mistakes:

1.     Don’t give your resume document a generic or misleading title.

We all have that document on our computers titled “My Resume.”
But when you send that puppy out, make sure it can later be found by the HR department or hiring manager, meaning it should contain your name and the word “resume” i.e. John Smith Resume.

Also, try not to give it a title that indicates it’s a resume skewed in favor of a position.  For example “consumer PR resume” indicates that you have aggregated your relevant consumer PR experience to make it appear stronger. Most HR reps want a complete picture of your career experience and may be put off by a resume that has obviously been doctored in a certain direction.

2.     Don’t put your name and contact information in the header.

This is one of those email/computer issues that can be killer. When formatting your resume, make sure that you do not put your contact information solely in the header. Often the header gets cut off or lost when sent via e-mail or to someone’s printer, and most importantly, resume filing software doesn’t pick up the information in the header. Make sure that if someone wants to contact you, they can.

A safe bet is to save your resume as a PDF file, which most people can open and view completely.  And a PDF can’t be altered (crazy idea, but you never know!)

3.     Don’t use fancy fonts that can turn ugly.

Probably the moral of this story is to PDF your resume, but if you are going to send it as a word processing document, don’t go crazy with the fonts. Though it may look beautiful on your end, if the recipient doesn’t have the same font on their computer, it can get ugly real fast. Or worse, it could affect the HR rep’s ability to read your resume at all.

4.     Don’t go overboard with flowery, vague language.

Use specifics and the terms of the job description to which you are replying. Overqualified can be just as bad as under qualified. In plain terms, if the job requires knowledge of “Power Point,” make sure the HR person is going to see “Power Point” on your resume.  You may describe an award winning multiple screen executive presentation, but if you don’t say Power Point, they may not get it.


5.     Don’t leave holes in your history.

People who see a lot of resumes like them to be chronological. It’s important not to leave holes because you never know what someone may assume you were doing during that time.

I’ve also seen some college grads that leave the date and year of their graduation off their resumes because they don’t want to look too young.  But the work experience is often unrelated and for periods of less than a year which doesn’t look good.  If you can see it’s because the person was also in school, then it’s understandable.

It’s important for recruiters to be confident in the candidates they are sending out. We like to have full disclosure. Even though resumes are marketing tools, people expect what is on your resume to be true. Don’t be misleading. Inspire confidence with a complete chronological resume that showcases your career progression from college to present.


With more than 20 years recruiting exclusively in PR and corporate communications, Sandy Charet understands communications careers inside and out. Sandy has been able to observe the shifts and innovations in the industry and uses this to craft beneficial and long-lasting relationships for both her clients and the candidates she works with. When she's not working her recruiting magic, Sandy enjoys searching for the perfect latte.

Connect with Sandy on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/charet), Twitter (twitter.com/charetprjobs) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Charet-Associates/220256791334013) or visit www.charet.com.