Don't: Pad Your Résumé with Meaningless Content

Don't try to fill a page with high school activities if you don't have the work experience to back up your application. An employer will see straight through it. Instead, get involved. Use special classes and class projects to your advantage, and consider exploiting your other interests to make yourself more qualified.

"You were a teenager then, and you're an adult now. You want to add your high school graduation, but keep it in a simple section," Meg says.

Once you have real work experience, Ross says it's also time to move on from collegiate activities. Other than being an athlete, which he says shows leadership and diversity, take off college-based clubs unless they're necessary for a specific job. "If the experience is relevant and speaks to who you are as a person, by all means, keep it on. ... But there comes a point where it becomes irrelevant," he says.

Do: Make It Easy on the Eyes

When you're writing a résumé, remember that you only have a few seconds to catch the employer's attention. Rather than using fancy fonts, Meg says to stick with Ariel and Times New Roman so your résumé isn't distracting and is easy to read. Use the oldest version of Microsoft Word you can find to help ensure that the format won't change when viewed on a different computer.

Make sure you have a header with your name and contact information, including your current address, e-mail and cell phone number. Highlight past job titles and responsibilities so it's easy for an HR manager to digest.

Meg also suggests giving the employer the hard facts about your experience. "As an intern, you may have worked on a team or project. Specify: 'Here's my role. I was one of five with the goal to increase project revenue.' State the facts and hard numbers without giving out proprietary information," Meg says.

And while participating in Greek life and other on-campus groups can show school involvement, make sure you only include activities "that are going to set you apart in a positive light," Meg says. "As a new graduate, you don't want people to think you're a big sorority chick."


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