10 of the Most Costly Resume Mistakes (Part II)

2 12 2010

This is a continuation of my previous blog where I discussed the first 5 Most Costly Resume Mistakes.  Here are the next 5, and a bonus!

6.  Do not include an Objective / Do include a Summary!

An Objective is about what YOU want, and not about what the company wants. When you are applying for a position, your resume needs to answer the question the company is asking, “why should we interview YOU?”  It doesn’t mean that your goals and interests are not important.  First, you need to gain their interest, and then you are in a stronger position to assert what interests you.

A Resume Summary is your mini-resume – it introduces you and provides an overview of your career experience, skills, accomplishments, education/training and credentials.  The Summary can be formatted in a number of different ways:

  • A paragraph of 5-6 lines including two or three focused and relevant statements.  Add 2-3 career accomplishments in bulleted form.
  • A number of bulleted statements including accomplishments
  • A technical skills section
  • A combination of the above

The Summary should be targeted and include the most relevant key words and phrases that match the requirements and responsibilities of the position for which you are applying.  The Summary should be flexible, and therefore, tailored for each position.  Do not fill the Summary with a lot of “floury” language to try and impress the reader.  Instead, use concise, focused and straight-forward language that tells the reader how you match what they are looking for.

7.  Do not leave out Accomplishment Statements!

It seems that most resumes contain detailed explanations of job responsibilities, whether they are written in a paragraph or bulleted format, but they do not include real accomplishment statements.  The best way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to identify your key accomplishments, and include them in bulleted statements.  Accomplishments differ from experience in that they explain what contributions you made, how well you performed your work, the results you achieved – they can be quantitative or qualitative.  Include numbers whenever possible – #’s, $$, %.  Accomplishments demonstrate your strengths.  Don’t tell me that you’re a hard worker.  Tell me what you achieved in comparison to what was expected.

Make sure you include the results!  Answer the question, “so what?”  Did you consistently meet/exceed your metrics or standards?  Did you resolve some specific problem?  Did you add to revenues, or reduce costs?  Preparing your accomplishment statements will help you prepare your accomplishment “stories” in the interview.

8.  Do not make any spelling or grammatical errors!

There is no excuse for any spelling or grammatical errors on a resume.  You have as much time as you need to write, edit and proofread your resume.  You have spell and grammar check to help you.  Ask someone who has a good eye to also review your resume for any mistakes.  It is very hard to find all of your own mistakes as you wrote it.

This rule is absolute!  It also applies to any other written communication you send to anyone – cover letters, emails, thank you’s, etc.

I recall seeing a resume of someone who claimed they were “detailed oriented and acurate!”  (should be “accurate”).

9.  Do not include any personal information!

Do not include your age, birthdate, marital status, health status, race, religion, or political preference.  It is illegal for a company to discriminate for any of these, so don’t give them the opportunity to do so.  Even if you are in excellent health, do not mention it.  If the job requires physical ability, you can include your ability to do certain physical tasks, e.g., “to lift 70 lbs.”  I have never seen anyone put in their resume that they were in “poor health”!  Remember that the content of the resume should always be relevant to the job, and your personal information is not relevant.

10.  Do not spend hundreds of dollars to hire a professional resume writing service!!!

I have heard stories of candidates who have hired services where they spent hundreds of dollars – as much $600 or $700!  They hired a professional writer, but not a professional resume writer.  In the first half of this list, I discussed not writing your resume as an author would.  Stay away from language that is floury and says nothing really tangible or specific.  Generalities are not going to get the company’s attention and induce them to want to interview you.  Referencing pt. #6 above, your Summary (and your resume) needs to be targeted to the company’s stated requirements and position responsibilities.

If you do need professional assistance with your resume, a career/job search coach will be able to help prepare a good resume in usually two or three hours, and their fees should therefore, be reasonable.  Not $500, $600, or more!


Do not rely on your resume to find a job!

Obviously, I encourage you to put a lot of effort into preparing a professional and well-targeted resume.  At the same time, your best job search efforts will not, in most cases, come from spending hours and hours in front of the computer applying online for hundreds and thousands of jobs.  Will you find a job online?  Maybe – some do.  The percentage of people who do is small, relative to the number of candidates who apply online.

Simple math – if 100 people apply for a position, then with all things being equal, you have a 1% probability of getting that job.  So, you need, on average, 100 jobs to apply for to even out the odds.  What happens when 500 or 1000 candidates apply for the position?  Eventually, some job seekers do get interviews, and do get offers from online postings, but it takes so many more hours, so many more resumes, and so much more time… and so much more frustration.

Get out there and speak and meet with people – the multitude of statistics indicate that ~40% to 80% of the jobs are found through networking (please search “job search methods” or “networking” online to confirm).  My experience with hundreds of coaching clients tells the same story.  It is most often about who you know, and not what you know.  Networking is personal, and the resume is impersonal.  Networking connects you one-on-one with decision makers.  Your resume connects you with Applicant Tracking Systems, and often goes unseen by anyone.  So, even if you have a great resume that matches the position, if the recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t see your resume, you won’t get an interview unless you know someone who can open the door for you with that company.

For the 1st 5 Most Costly Resume Mistakes, go to Part I:


For more information on Resume Preparation, go to:


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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