Make sure your
resume is top-notch by avoiding the top 10 resume blunders:
1. Too Focused on Job Duties
Your resume should
not be a boring listing of job duties and responsibilities. Go beyond
showing what was required and demonstrate how you made a difference at
each company, providing specific examples. When developing your
achievements, ask yourself:
- How did you
perform the job better than others?
- What were the
problems or challenges faced? How did you overcome them? What were
the results? How did the company benefit from your performance?
- Did you receive
any awards, special recognition or promotions as a result?
2. Flowery or General Objective
Many candidates lose
their readers in the beginning. Statements like "A challenging position
enabling me to contribute to organizational goals while offering an
opportunity for growth and advancement" are overused, too general and
waste valuable space. If you’re on a career track, replace the objective
with a tagline stating what you do or your expertise.
3. Too Short or Too Long
Many people try to
squeeze their experiences onto one page, because they've heard resumes
shouldn’t be longer. By doing this, job seekers may delete impressive
achievements. There are also candidates who ramble on about irrelevant
or redundant experiences. There is no rule about appropriate resume
length. When writing your resume, ask yourself, "Will this statement
help me land an interview?" Every word should sell you, so only include
information that elicits a "yes."
4. Using Personal Pronouns and
A resume is a form of
business communication, so it should be concise and written in a
telegraphic style. There should be no mentions of "I" or "me," and only
minimal use of articles. For example:
I developed a new
product that added $2 million in sales and increased the market
segment’s gross margin by 12 percent.
should be changed to:
product that added $2 million in sales and increased market segment’s
gross margin by 12 percent.
5. Listing Irrelevant Information
Many people include
their interests, but they should only include those relating to the job.
For example, if a candidate is applying for a position as a ski
instructor, he should list cross-country skiing as a hobby. Personal
information, such as date of birth, marital status, height and weight,
normally should not be on the resume unless you’re an entertainment
professional or a job seeker outside the US.
6. Using a Functional Resume When
You Have a Good Career History
It is irksome for
hiring managers not to see the career progression and the impact made at
each position. Unless you have an emergency situation, such as virtually
no work history or excessive job-hopping, avoid the functional format.
chronological format is often the most effective. Here’s the basic
- Header (name,
address, email address, phone number)
- Lead with a
strong profile section detailing the scope of your experience and
areas of proficiency
chronological employment history emphasizing achievements in the
past 10 to 15 years
- Education (New
grads may put this at the top.)
7. Not Including a Summary
Section that Makes an Initial Hard Sell
This is one of the
job seeker’s greatest tools. Candidates who have done their homework
will know the skills and competencies important to the position. The
summary should demonstrate the skill level and experiences directly
related to the position being sought.
To create a
high-impact summary statement, peruse job openings to determine what’s
important to employers. Next, write a list of your matching skills,
experience and education. Incorporate these points into your summary.
8. Where are the Keywords?
With so many
companies using technology to store resumes, the only hope a job seeker
has of being found is to include relevant keywords sprinkled throughout
the resume. Determine keywords by reading job descriptions that interest
you and include them in your resume.
9. References Available
Employers know you
have professional references. Only use this statement to signal the end
of a long resume or to round out the design.
One typo can land
your resume in the garbage. Proofread and show your resume to several
friends to have them proofread it as well. This document is a reflection
of you and should be perfect.
Resume Do's and Don'ts
Do . . .
- Make certain your r�sum� is well spaced and visually attractive.
- Make your r�sum� concise.
- Use action words and sentence fragments to describe your
experiences. Quantify your experiences wherever possible.
- Be consistent in your use of dates, numbers, abbreviations, etc.
- Check and recheck for errors; look closely for mistakes in
grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
- Have someone else critique and proofread your r�sumé.
- Select quality bond paper for your final copies. Use white, ivory,
cream, beige, buff, or light gray paper.
- Use a letter-quality or laser printer and black type.
- Fold and mail your r�sum� in a matching envelope or mail it flat
in a 9" x 12" white or manila envelope.
Don't . . .
- Type "R�sum�" above your name.
- State your reasons for leaving a job.
- Use abbreviations or contractions.
- Write lengthy prose.
- Use multiple fonts, typographic symbols, or other visual elements.
- Use personal pronouns (I, we, my).
- Include a photograph.
- Mention personal data (e.g., height, weight, health, age or date
of birth, marital status, race, religion, sex, etc.).
More: Resume Dos and Don'ts