The Do’s and Don’ts of Resume Writing.

Kyla Duffy
4 min readSep 4, 2023

If you’re confused about resume writing, don’t feel bad (there’s your first “don’t”!). There is more conflicting information on the internet about what you should or shouldn’t do with your resume than about whether wearing a mask prevents Covid! Ugh.

Here’s my general guidance for you — it’s one word: EMPATHY.

If you were sitting on the other side of the table, receiving this resume, what would you want it to look like? What would you want it to say?

Remember, recruiters are pawing through hundreds of resumes a day — the best “gift” you can give them is a well-formatted resume with information included where they expect to see it. That means:

· Name, email address, phone number, LinkedIn URL, and city/state/zip at the top.

o Yes, even if you want remote work you should put the city, state, and zip because some ATS scanners require it.

o If you’re moving and don’t expect the company to pay for it, putting the new city, state, and zip where you will live is reasonable.

· Title of the job you’re applying for

· Brief summary of how adding you to the fold will make the team better

· 9–12 key skills that align your abilities with the job requirements

· Work experience

· Education (This can be above work experience if you don’t have any relevant experience.)

· Other stuff (Courses, volunteering, affiliations, interests relevant to the work you want to do, etc.)

ATS — what?

Yes, I said ATS. Maybe you’ve heard of the nasty little robots that tear your resume apart and block you from getting a job?

It’s not like that, really. ATS — Applicant Tracking Systems — are tools that help recruiters manage their pile of resumes. Here’s what you need to know about them:

· Their goal isn’t to keep you out.

· They can generally read resumes formatted in Word or Google Docs (not always .pdfs).

· There are many systems, and they are configured by the recruiter for each job they’re hiring for.



Kyla Duffy

Energized by “A-ha!” moments, I’m a career coach and resume writer who helps people move toward happiness & fulfillment. Get help at