5 Resume Don'ts and 1 Do: Tips from a Top DC Staffing Agency.

The Resume. Every hopeful applicant has one. But do you know how yours will hold up throughout the recruiter’s screening process? What sets a great resume apart from the masses? Formatting is oftentimes everything. With nearly 10 years experience as a local and national staffing agency based in the nation’s capital, we’re sharing our top 6 tips on how to make sure your resume stands out from the crowd.

5 Resume Don’ts + 1 Do, Tips from a Top DC Staffing Agency:


  1. Graphics:

This includes your picture. Most recruiting agencies employ the use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which pull all the important information from your resume, and stores it in an electronic database. This allows us to do searches for candidates later, based on current openings. Images can get in the way of software processes, and sometimes your experience and skills then get lost in the transfer. Yikes!

Plus, it can be distracting. Plain text is always a safe bet.

*Creative job applicants, such as graphic and visual designers, may be the one exception to this rule.*

  1. Personal Details:

Salary, DOB, SSN, Political Views, Favorite Color…you name it, we’ve probably seen it. Giving personal information is not only distracting; it may even lower the value of your experience and skills in a recruiter’s eyes. Keep it classy, and stick to professional info only, it’ll speak for itself.

  1. The Nitty Gritty:

Too much detail can weigh down your resume, and leave your recruiter’s eyes burning. If you notice, even professional resume writers might advise you against this practice. A few bullet points per job experience will do nicely. Your work description should feature job highlights, statistics, and numbers to back up your claims, and any relevant skills, or tasks, that you may have completed that showcase your suitability for the position. If we need more, we’ll ask for it.

  1. Spelling, Grammar, and Following the Rules:

It’s elementary! Nothing will bother a recruiter more than poor grammar, along with not following submission instructions. Recruiters want to hire smart candidates who will represent them well at their assigned company. It’s basic, but if there are typos or your application wasn’t submitted to the agency’s specifications, how can a recruiter trust that you won’t do the same if you’re offered a job?

  1. The Big No-No…Lying:

Don’t fib on your resume. Just Don’t. EVER. It’s that simple.

Lies usually reveal themselves quickly to the trained eyes of a recruiter. Remember, we see hundreds of resumes daily. Plus, it can be easy to uncover lies with the help of pre-employment criminal background check and information so readily available on the internet. Social Media is now a major tool used by recruiters at all levels. These platforms can, and often do, reveal issues that your resume wasn’t honest about. Do yourself and your future employer a favor, and be truthful about your work history and abilities. Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy.


Tailor Your Resume! We love to see resumes that are specially tailored to the position for which a candidate is applying. It’s obvious when someone has taken the time to format their resume with job-specific work history, skills, and education. Be deliberate and strategic, leave out the non-relevant stuff.

For example, that job you held at the local pizza place while you were in high school? It’s not going to give a potential employer much confidence that you can handle a position as their lead Data Analyst, even if you do have the skills to back it up. Take a moment, and put some thought into what the employer is looking for. When you format your resume towards a specific opportunity, it shows not only your qualifications but your willingness to put effort into being considered. Going the extra mile can win you more than just a gold star; it could win you that job.

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