My company was recently recruiting for an experienced hire (5-10 years) and I was given the task of reviewing resumes and recommending a short list of candidates to interview. The vast majority of resumes were very well written and had good formats. There were a few, however, that were just scary. Misspelled words, missing punctuation, poor content. There was one in particular that read as if it was a very first draft.
You don’t want to just make a good impression, you want to make a lasting impression. Your resume is your first (and hopefully not your last) chance to do that. Get your resume right and you stand a good chance at getting an interview.
Where can it go wrong? Read on.
1. Misspellings and Grammatical Errors
There is nothing that will get your resume discarded more quickly than errors. There is really no excuse these days for sending a resume (or any document for that matter) that has misspellings or grammatical errors. Spell check has been around forever and most word processing programs include a grammar checker. Read your resume several times before sending. The best piece of advice is to get someone to proofread it for you.
2. Resume Writers
I’m not saying that you should not use a resume writer. Professional resume writers can be extremely helpful and many times make the difference between a great resume and a piece of, well you get the point. If you decide to get help in writing your resume, make sure that they know all about you. Spend time talking with them so that they get a good understanding of your experience and the type of job you want to get. Just sending your information to someone who you expect will produce the perfect resume is a big mistake. Engage and own the process.
3. Not Focused
You need to be specific about what you’ve done (your accomplishments) and the outcome (such as savings, improved sales, reduced errors, etc.). Something like “worked in marketing” does not really say anything. A focused sentence might say “Created cost effective marketing campaigns for the head of Marketing”.
4. Gaps in Your Resume
Many people have had gaps in their employment. Mergers, bankruptcies, discontinued businesses, there are many reasons why you may have a period of unemployment. There are several ways you can handle this. The easiest way is to not use a chronological resume format. Any volunteer work or contract work you did during your period of unemployment should be included as well.
5. No Keywords
Today’s tip of the day. Resumes are scanned by most companies and job search sites. Hiring managers will look for resumes that include many of the keywords that are included in their job descriptions. While it’s important that you include your accomplishments on your resume, it is also important that you include keywords for your industry and job title.
6. A Politically Incorrect Email Address:
I’ve seen (and given) this advice before, and you would think that it was not necessary. But believe it or not, this is a very common mistake. I usually suggest that you create a new email address just for job search. Using some variation of your name is the best way to go. If your personal email address is something like “firstname.lastname@example.org”, I would suggest using something else (even if you are very proud of your beer drinking prowess).
7. What You Do in Your Spare Time:
Hiring managers want to know that you have interests outside of your job. Sports, camping, travel, etc. are all great hobbies. Avoid anything that might cause discrimination. Political organizations is a good example and should not be included on your resume.
Review your resume and don’t be a victim of these resume errors.
√ Resume Tip: Include Keywords in Your Resume- Leverage the same keywords in your resume that are used in job descriptions for jobs where you want to apply.
Also take a look at 150 Funniest Resume Mistakes, Bloopers and Blunders Ever. Funny stuff and worth a read.
Book Review of the Day – Best KeyWords for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews: Powerful Communication Tools for Success – Keywords are key (pun intended) if you want your resume to show up in searches. This book, by Wendy Enelow, will help you identify all of the keywords that you should include on your resume.
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Good luck in your search,