Good Resume Writing: The Dos and Don’ts Checklist

Imagine yourself auditioning for a talent show where you only have 6 seconds to convince the judges that you deserve to be chosen. Naturally, if you can grab their attention instantly, you’ll be ahead of your competitors.

Resume writing is just like that.

A good resume should provide the recruiters with the right information that helps them gauge your suitability for the position as well as for the company culture.

To secure a job interview, follow these dos and don’ts checklist to perfect your resume.


Resume Writing: The Dos


An ideal length of a good resume is not more than two pages:

Note: Most recruiters only spend 6 seconds on your resume to screen for relevant keywords that match the job requirements.The resume must fully demonstrate your professional experiences and achievements:

  • Experiences: A simple bullet list that highlights your actual responsibilities, especially in areas that are most relevant to the applying position.
  • Achievements: Specify the accomplishments through numbers or data: “Achieved the company’s all-time sales record at RM 60,000”.

Format your resume following these standards

Note: Unless you are applying for a specific job that requires a creative portfolio, a black-and-white resume is all you need.Write in simple document fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana or Trebuchet MS Print, and save your resume in the right format to attach to your email application (or online submission).

In terms of structure, use clear headings and bullet points to break down different sections (experience, education, achievements). Don’t forget to leave enough white space to make your resume skimmable.

The sample below follows the order: Name and contact details – Headline – Experiences and achievements – Education – Skills.

A simple one-page resume structure

Tip: Add a headline underneath your name, for example, “Digital Marketing Professional” or “PhD Candidate in Business” as the “bait” of your profile.

Proofread multiple times and revise if necessary

Note: There is nothing that turns someone off as quickly as grammatical errors, so don’t make your potential employers see those careless mistakes.

Besides proofreading yourself, you can also ask someone who has strong writing skills to check if your resume is completely mistake-free, including punctuation, word choice, sentence structures and verb tenses among other common mistakes.

Tip: Take a break in between each reviewing to keep your mind fresh, you should not rush the writing process.

Include references (recommendations) from your previous employers

Note: While we’re at it, here’s a quick reminder to the job hoppers: make sure to leave your old employment on good terms, because recruiters may (if not always) perform reference check.

Having a good recommendation from your former managers will surely make your profile stand out, which will increase your likelihood of being shortlisted for the interview. If you are a fresh grad, you can consider asking for testimonials from your University lecturers.

Tip: If you have online recommendations via LinkedIn, you can skip this part in your resume. Just remember to include your LinkedIn profile in the contact information.

List down the most relevant experiences in reverse chronological order

Note: Don’t try to impress the recruiters with your college’s part-time occupations 10 years ago. Prioritise your most recent jobs first.You can even remove the jobs that don’t really add values (for example, short-term employment).

Emphasise the skills that are most valuable to your future employer

Note: All employers would prefer candidates who have the specialised skill sets for the hiring position. So make sure to customise your resume to match with the company’s industry and the job function.

If you switch industries every now and then, do mention the transferable skills such as computer skills, customer service or communication skills. Have any awards or certifications that add value? List them here.


  • The previous employers’ details (name, phone number and address)
  • Your period of employment in the past
  • Your contact details, including social media profiles



Resume Writing: The Don’ts


The layout is too dense

Imagine reading a 1000-word article without any spaces between the paragraphs, even a bookworm will likely to fall asleep. You wouldn’t want to scare off the recruiter with a resume filled with words.

You should utilise white spaces and increase indent for the supporting paragraphs of each heading to make the main information easier to scan for. Avoid this:


Include irrelevant information

The details of your marital status, religion or hobbies may be applicable for a Tinder profile but not in a job application.

Don’t overshare information that is not related to the job. Basically, try not to mention things that are better kept personal.

Exaggerate job titles, responsibilities, or achievements 

It will backfire if you intend to impress the recruiters with false information, especially about your previous job titles and responsibilities.

If you have achieved something that was beyond your scope of work, mention it as an achievement instead.

Use uncommon abbreviations 

Except for some business acronyms, avoid using abbreviations that are not widely recognised. For example, if you are applying for a business related position, terms like ROI or B2C are acceptable, but not those that are only used internally in your previous companies.

Too many cliches 

“Hard-working”, “go-getter”, “able to think outside the box” may sound catchy, but they are just flattering words that don’t add much value.Avoid using cliches and add more practical facts instead. Try to give specific examples, for instance, what have you achieved that demonstrate your creative thinking skills?

RelatedOverused Buzzwords to Remove from Your Resume

Copy and paste the job descriptions

Make sure that your past responsibilities are unique to the companies. Don’t simply copy from the Internet or copy from one job to another, even if they share the same function. In that case, it is advisable to state your actual contributions instead of rewriting the same job descriptions.

Once you have run through the above dos and don’ts checklist, update your latest resume to and let opportunities find you. Good luck in finding your dream job!

Submit your resume here:

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