10 of the Most Costly Resume Mistakes! (Part I)

1 12 2010

Your resume is your primary marketing piece to gain the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager.  The ultimate purpose of a resume is to get an interview. You want your resume to get read – the average initial look at a resume is about 20 seconds (or less), so you need to have a resume that is pleasing and inviting to read, and easy to quickly scan at first glance.

There are a number of costly mistakes you should avoid when preparing your resume.  I will discuss 10 of the Most Costly Resume Mistakes, 5 in Part I and 5 in Part II.

1.  Do not write like an author!

Good writers, especially, have a very difficult time with their resume.  They work hard at using big descriptive words trying to impress the reader. Instead, they make it more difficult for the reader to really understand who the candidate is and what they have done.  Keep the writing simple. Focus on specifics.  Emphasize what is most relevant to what the company is looking for.  (In the 2nd post, I will specifically address the Summary vs. the Objective.)  Save your exceptional writing expertise for your novel, blog, etc.

2.  Do not write a lengthy book!

Your resume should not be longer than 1 – 2 pages, depending on the amount of relevant experience you have.  There are exceptions, e.g., if you have a lot of technical skills, specific project experience, publications, relevant volunteer activities, or something similar.

Keep your paragraphs concise – 4 – 5 lines is typically long enough to describe your job responsibilities.  Even shorter should be your accomplishment statements – 1 – 2 lines.  Save the details and the stories for the interview.

Do not include every job you’ve every had.  Include the most recent and relevant positions – on average, about 12 – 15 years of experience is sufficient, unless a prior job adds value to your resume.

If your resume is too long and/or has too much content, the recruiter or hiring manager will most likely not read it!  You could be an excellent match for the position, but if your resume doesn’t get a good review, you won’t get an interview.

3.  Do not use a small font and small margins!

This is an extension of Point #2 above.  If you are using a small font size (less than 10 pt.) and/or small margins (less than .75″; 1″ is standard), then you probably have too much content.  Make your resume pleasing to the eye and easy to scan and read quickly.  White space is essential to separate sections.  Also, use a standard font (e.g., Arial, Times New Roman, Courier) so that your resume is compatible with nearly all computers.

4.  Do not use “I” statements!

“I” statements are too strong and too braggy.  Start your statements with action verbs (“Developed”, “Reduced”, “Created”, “Implemented”, “Resolved”).  In your cover letter, use “I” statements, and definitely in the interview.

5.  Do not add a Photo!

This is your professional resume, and not your personal ad, website or Facebook page.  A photo is personal, and a resume is a business document.  Do put a good photo on your LinkedIn profile, and include your LinkedIn URL in your resume.

The next 5 Most Costly Resume Mistakes are covered in Part II:

https://careerspecialist1.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/10-of-the-most-costly-resume-mistakes-part-ii/

For more information on Resume Preparation, go to: https://careerspecialist1.wordpress.com/resume-preparation/

If you would like a professionally prepared resume, please call me at (818) 577-1347 or email to scfried@aol.com.

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