Writing a resume is easy. Right? You just type your responsibilities, a few metrics and just the right amount of buzzwords onto a Word doc. And voila, send that resume to every job posting you find.
Wrong! Resumes are strategic marketing communications that must be created thoughtfully… and with some oomph.
A single blog post or article cannot comprehensively guide you on building that perfect resume. That said, in bits, bytes and chunks we can construct tips and strategies, and highlight everyday mistakes to avoid to help you get out of the resume-writing starting gate.
Following are five very common resume mistakes and how to fix them… so you can more readily land that next great job!
Resume Mistake No. 1: Using an Objective
For example: “To leverage my past experience and education to secure a finance management position.” Objective statements traditionally are about you, but today’s resume should be focused on their (employer’s) needs.
Replace the objective with a focused headline and profile summary that markets your value to alleviate a company’s pain. Example headline:
Transforming complex business problems in technology sector into focused, data-backed solutions.
Driving down costs, elevating reporting capabilities and improving decision-making processes.
Resume Mistake No. 2: Too Much Good Information Too Late
Not including your most persuasive information “above the fold” can cost you a job interview; your resume must get to the point quickly. While the resume doesn’t stop after the first paragraphs or bullets or even after the first half of the page, ‘above-the-fold’ marketing does matter.
If you want to hook the reader, don’t bore them right out of the gate. Grab their attention with sizzle. So, instead of the profile summary just saying that you are a skilled financial manager with 15 years of experience, power up the message with an achievement. For example:
Most recently, contributed as financial manager for a large automotive group in Kansas City, MO, a position acquired by rising through the ranks of ABC Automotive Company from the sales floor. In this leadership role, consistently performed in top 5% of the company’s pool of 20 finance managers.
Resume Mistake No. 3: Writing in the Third Person
Writing about yourself like you’re not in the room (for example: Kevin Jones offers extensive experience as a project management professional) is not considered acceptable by many recruiters.
Convert every line of your resume to implied first person. For example:
Offer more than 10 years of project management experience with expertise in applying novel efficiency and productivity solutions.
Resume Mistake No. 4: Including a Picture
While the value of LinkedIn rises when you post a photo to your social media profile, the same is not true for your resume. When it comes to pasting a picture into your resume file… well, don’t. Doing so may create problems for human resources screeners in regard to equal opportunity issues.
Simply put: do not include a photo. Paint vivid word pictures and stories, instead. And if you like, add a few splashes of color, a chart or graph or other impressions that add value while adding flair.
Resume Mistake No. 5: Using Overused Words
There are some words that are used on so many resumes, recruiters have learned to gloss right over them. Visionary, dynamic leader, results-oriented, passion and integrity are among those that have become cliches.
Because some of these words regularly are woven into formal job postings, it is difficult to avoid using them altogether if you want to meet the applicant tracking system (ATS) needs some companies have. So, if you do use these buzzwords, be sparing.
As well, when you DO use them, be sure to build a contextual story around those words either at the time of use or later in the resume. In other words, prove, through concrete achievements, that you are visionary, or that you have integrity. Example:
Leadership Impact: Captained a mission and vision focus on profitability. Engineered a >$15 million turnaround in one year, shifting unit from quarterly loss of ($8 million) to $7 million profit in Q4 2011.
These mistakes do happen far too often. However, as you can see, they can each be fixed quickly. Get started today… and get the interview!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Glassdoor.com!
About the Author: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. An intuitive researcher, she helps professionals unearth compelling career story details to help best present their unique experience, skillset and interests in resumes and social media profiles.
In addition Jacqui has written for the Career Management Alliance Connection monthly newsletter and blog, ExecuNet’s Career Smart Advisor, The Kansas City Star, The Business Journal and The Wall Street Journal. In addition, she and her husband, “Sailor Rob,” host a lively careers-focused blog. Jacqui also is a power Twitter user listed on several “Best People to Follow” lists for job seekers. Follow Jacqui on Twitter!