In this stagnant economy, every line of your resume – from your name down to the last line – needs to promote and sell your candidacy. Each job has hundreds, perhaps thousands, of equally-qualified candidates. Many of these applicants have no idea of the blunders they’ve made on their resumes. The smart job seeker knows what to avoid which invites an interview.
Let’s go through our “don’t-let-this-happen-to-you” list:
- Using a suffix after a family name. If you’re a Jr. or a Sr. leave it off. It makes you sound too young or too old. Have a family nickname? Keep it in the family. A resume should have your given name only.
- Funky email addresses: HateMondays@email.com may sound cool to your friends. To an employer it’s unprofessional.
- The What-I-Want Objective: A resume is not the time to give an employer your wish list. Use a summary of your skills, instead, to tell them what you can offer.
- Generic Phrasing: Adept professional, seasoned manager, dynamic candidate. These phrases take up valuable space unless you support them with a quantified accomplishment.
- Accomplishments That Aren’t: Without the results, they’re daily duties and lose their impact. Always include dollar figures, percentages, and time periods. For example: Grew sales 38% within six months, representing an increase of $100,000 in revenue, through targeted cold calling.
- Buried Skills: The end of a resume is not the place for important certifications, licensure, or multilingual capabilities. Put them in the opening summary where they won’t be overlooked.
- Listing Hobbies or Interests: If it’s not pertinent to your career goal, leave it off. White water rafting may make you a liability to the employer’s health care plan.
- Haphazard Organization: List your most important skills first, followed by the next most important, and so on. Education doesn’t always go at the top or at the bottom of the resume. It and the other sections go where they will most impress.
- Failure to Target: Consider an employer’s needs when writing your resume. A one-size-fits-all model will likely fail.
- Use of first person and slang: Resumes are business documents written in the third person. Keep yours conservative and businesslike.
Ten easy reminders to get you started.