You only get a few seconds to make a good first impression with your resume. This task is not always as simple as some may think, as a number of details – big and small – can play a part in determining whether hiring managers even find your resume professional enough to consider you for hire. Could your resume be wrecking your chances of landing an interview? Here are some common pitfalls to which job seekers fall victim in the resume arena.
Thank goodness for spell check. It does a lot, but it cannot do it all. A resume with typos is a keen indicator that the candidate lacks attention to detail. Misspelled words, improper punctuation (a common faux pas is adding a period to the end of bullet-pointed phrases) and poor grammar, are immediate grounds for exclusion with most recruiters. Now just think of the results you would get if you sent that resume off to, say, 70 recruiters already. For more insight on this topic, check out the Forbes article, “Which Grammar Mistakes Will Keep You from Getting a Good Job?” by Rob Asghar.
Resumes tend to be filled with whatever buzzwords are currently popular. Once upon a time, a “dynamic, results-driven multitasker” was all the rage. Not anymore. Well, at least not in those words. While buzzwords may seem like appropriate terms to describe what you have to offer, they don’t pack any real punch for recruiters and hiring managers. If every applicant is focusing on his own dynamism and ability to multitask, there is little to set each candidate apart. Go through your resume, then Google resume samples. If the verbiage is the same, change yours. For a list of 2013’s top overused buzzwords, read Business Insider article, “10 Overused Words You Should Never Put On Your Resume,” by Alison Griswold.
Too much information! The fact that you have plenty of experience and expertise is fantastic. But not every bit of expertise and every experience needs to be documented on your resume. A resume crowded with paragraph after paragraph of information is hard to read. Even worse, it’s not something a busy hiring manager wants to read. If you have listed twenty years of experiences, plus a street address and a PO Box, plus a land line, fax and cell, plus all of your social media and email addresses, it’s likely too much information. Trim back. Give the hiring manager room to breathe.
Too much or too little contact information can be a detriment to your job search. If you only include your email address and cell phone, what happens when the call comes but goes straight to voice mail or the email ends up in your spam folder instead of your inbox? As well, make sure you contact information is accurate and professional.
The days of saying what you did in a previous role without documenting the results you delivered are over. Recruiters are looking to be able to quantify your value and that means giving hard numbers.
Your resume is a narrative that should create a picture of an amazing, real-life workplace super hero. Don’t foil your chances of making an impact with hiring managers by giving in to the typical resume language. Tell your story better.
For a resume that represents you accurately the first time, consider a professionally written resume.