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5 Resume Do’s and Don’ts from Cisco Recruiters

October 27, 2015 - 8 Comments

Grumpy Cat Resume Meme

Have you ever used the word “flibbertigibbet” on a resume? –You would be surprised with what resume faux pas come across a recruiter’s desk. Bad stories are often more memorable, but no one wants to be a part of those. Corporate recruiters are flooded with applications, so if you want yours to stand out (in a good way), it needs to be polished.

To help you perfect your resume, we asked Cisco recruiters about surprising mistakes that applicants make and should avoid. Here are the top five responses:


5) “When someone writes in the third person.”
-Cindy Brahney, Staffing & Recruitment Specialist (@CindyBrahney)

Why it’s a DON’T:

Referring to yourself in the third person is awkward. It sounds funny and looks bad, so don’t do it unless your name is Elmo.

What you can DO instead:

Write in bullet point format and use a variety of strong action verbs to start each line. Some of these words include: collaborated, managed, and created.


4) “Resumes that have many words in them but tell me nothing about what the person really has to offer. This is not the place to be a politician.”
-Griselle Paz, Talent Acquisition Manager (@growingacareer)

Why it’s a DON’T:

The point of a resume is to showcase your experience and talent in a succinct way. If recruiters want to read a mystery novel, they can go to the library.

What you can DO instead:

Be clear about your accomplishments and relate them to the job you are applying for. Every line should have a specific purpose and highlight one of your strengths.


3) “Resumes where you can tell that an applicant submitted it for a completely different job. These are unrelated to the job they want and do not list any skills applicable to the role.”
-April Welsh, Talent Acquisition Manager (@aprwelsh)

Why it’s a DON’T:

Do you enjoy feeling like someone’s second choice? An afterthought? Recruiters have feelings too and want to see that a candidate spent time on a resume for a specific position. Using a generic resume is a huge turn off.

What you can DO instead:

It is ok to have a “master resume,” but you must edit it for each job that you apply to. Only include the skills and talents that are most relevant to the job at hand.


2) “When candidates put their parents phone number and not their direct number. I have called a lot of parents!”

-Tara Kaverman, Talent Acquisition Program Specialist (@CiscoTara)

Why it’s a DON’T:

Unless you need your parent’s permission to leave the house, you should not be using their phone number. It is unprofessional to have someone else speak for you.

What you can DO instead:

The first few lines on a resume should be your name and contact information. If a recruiter wants to schedule an interview, then she will need a way to reach you directly. Be sure to include both your phone number and email address.


1) “Crazy, unprofessional email addresses!—are you going to be working in a bounce house?”
-Laura Coeburn, Staffing & Recruiting Specialist (@CoeburnLaura)

Why it’s a DON’T:

If you want to apply for a job at the local bounce house, go right ahead. I hear they have a few openings down the street… Otherwise, don’t waste your first impression with an unprofessional email address.

What you can DO instead:

It is easy to make a professional email address through Yahoo, Google, MSN, or any other free site. Something like YourName@email looks good and does the trick.

Now, use that awesome resume you’ve just updated using this advice and apply for a role at Cisco!

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  1. Great article, Andy!

  2. Great article Andy. Expectation from a resume are differ from location to location but yes the basics of a good resume remain unchanged .

  3. The unprofessional emails are a BIG one – I had an exec tear up a resume of a really qualified candidate once they looked at the email address. It is all about presenting yourself in the best way possible!

  4. That is really great. thanks

  5. tremendous article, it is very useful for any person who are looking for jobs

  6. Tremendous article, very usefull for any person who are looking for jobs

  7. Thanks for the advice, Andy. It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my resume; you’ve got me thinking about making a few modifications to keep it fresh. I also had to share your article with my social network. Thanks again!

  8. You are spot on with these 5, Andy! And I’m sure this list could grow to 500+. Thanks for sharing the voice of these well respected Recruiters too 🙂