Ok. so you are a small business owner and not a job seeker, so you may wonder “why this post?”. It isn’t about preparing for failure, but there are times that you may need a resume or CV. If you are considering expanding your small business and are seeking investors, or you need financing for a new start up, your resume may be requested. And, if you never need these tips, your children, spouse or friend might. So from my HR pro who has literally reviewed thousands of resumes, here are some do’s and don’ts:

Don’t list any personal information like age, marital status or medical history-keep it to name, address, phone, email and perhaps your LinkedIn account.

Do list your work history first (start with most recent) and then your education and then volunteer contributions and certifications.

Don’t write a narrative! This means don’t include sentences like “at this job I ran an off-set printing machine”. Instead say “operated off-set printing machine”. Keep full paragraphs to a minimum in your resume.

Do be brief, concise, and to the point. An interview or discussion with loan officers is where you can tell your full history and fill in the blanks.

Don’t add a ton of graphics, color or fancy formatting. Most resumes are viewed online these days so you do not stand out and these effects don’t make it easier to read.

Do effectively use the space you are given. Use white space and bullet points to streamline reading, but also reduce margins and fonts ( slightly) from the default if you need more room.

Don’t list an objective. It uses up space better used for what you’ve actually done and they are rarely written well. Besides, the reader probably knows your objective.

Do start your resume with a summary along the lines of “successful real estate agent with over 15 years of commercial and residential sales experience, specializing in hard to sell properties” or you can do a few bullet points summarizing your experience if one sentence won’t do.

Don’t trust spell check! Turn your resume over to two very adept professional-level writers to review for spelling, grammar and clarity.

Do use the active vs. passive voice and strong verbs: Developed, guided, created, coached, designed, navigated, directed…


by Steven Schlagel