You made the decision. You’re finally ready to join Buffalo’s startup and emerging business community. Now, all you need to do is upload your resumé to Forge Buffalo so local companies searching the site can see what you have to offer. But before you do that, you’re going to need to know what recruiters are looking for and, more importantly, what they don’t want to see. Whether it’s your first time building your resumé or you’re just looking to refresh it, Forge Buffalo’s list of resumé do’s and don’ts has you covered.  


Check your email. This seems like a no brainer, but a weird email address is one of the fastest ways your resumé can earn a one-way ticket to the rejection pile. If your email address contains references to body parts, nicknames, curse words or is anything other than your first name and/or last, go ahead and change it. Remember, this is the first impression you get to make on a potential employer. Don’t let your email address hold you back.

Keep it brief. If your resumé is longer than one page, it’s too long. Review your experience and remove redundancies. Also, avoid big chunks of text and clichés buzzwords. Hiring managers have stacks of resumés from creative, hardworking, results-driven team players. There are much better ways to tell them what sets you apart. If you need help with formatting, check out online resumé builders like Zety, ResumeHelpResumeNerd and ResumeNow.

Dress your resumé for the job you want, not the job you have. The perfect resumé does not exist. There is no one-size-fits-all resumé that shows every employer you are perfect for the job. While you’re going to create a standard version of your resumé to upload to job boards, you will also need to tailor your resumé when applying for specific positions. Start by looking at the job description and noting the responsibilities, requirements, qualifications and themes. The important ones are usually mentioned first. Then mirror this in your resumé by pushing more relevant experience to the top of each section.

Proofread your resumé multiple times. You could be the smartest, most qualified candidate, but as our friends at Superior Jobs will tell you, a lack of attention to detail is hard to survive. What can you do to avoid errors? Print out a copy and slowly read it aloud or ask one of your friends (you know the one that’s always correcting spelling and grammar mistakes in the group chat) to take a look for you.


Add fluff. We’re all tempted to beef up our resumé during a job search. But the truth is you’re only hurting yourself. Looking past fluff is in the first line of most hiring managers’ job descriptions (see what I did there?). Don’t include anything from high school, your coursework, or even references. It’s just a waste of space.

Use crazy fonts. Unless you’re a designer or know a lot about typography, stick to a max of 2 fonts. Clashing fonts can be distracting and make your resumé hard to read. Remember, the goal is for hiring managers to quickly and easily scan your resumé to see why you’re a great fit. Hiring managers don’t have time to use a wingding cipher to crack the code and learn about your experience. This isn’t The Da Vinci Code or National Treasure, keep your information simple and easy to read.

Hide the truth. If it is not entirely true, don’t put it on your resumé. The truth always comes out. Allow the employer to hire you and not someone you think they want you to be. This includes hiding any gaps. Only using years to display times of employment instead of months and years is fine, but never lie about your time. Employers appreciate open and honest communication about unemployment periods. Try to find ways to relate whatever skills you learned during this time to the job and how it makes you a better fit.

Include confidential information. Employers want to know they can trust you. Including “Collaborated with a Buffalo company that has a two-digit number and direction in its name,” on my resumé would not openly break the hypothetical confidentiality agreement I made with our partners at 43North for this example. But it would serve as a red flag to the hiring manager and land my resumé in the reject pile.

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