And although some are good enough, many tend make the same three mistakes that tarnish what a recruiter will think during the 5 to 7 seconds they will spend on the first pass of the resume.
What are those three mistakes?
An Unattractive Resume Format
You can preach all day about the keywords and content of a resume, but I stand by this as the most important principle in resume writing:
You MUST have an attractive resume format if you want to be seriously considered!
Messy, disorganized, unpolished resume formats say exactly that about the type of candidate you are—not to mention that they are difficult to read. If you’re making it hard for the hiring manager to find the information he needs to consider you for employment, you just lost your shot at the job. Someone else will have taken the time to construct a strategically laid out resume that is polished, easy-to-read, and attractive to the eye.
Failing to Call Out The Critical
Yes—keywords are extremely important. But just haphazardly throwing them into the resume is pretty much pointless.
Sure, you may get past the ATS scan, but when that entry-level HR rep or hiring manager prints out the resume or pulls it up on the screen to review it—if he can’t immediately see your qualifications you can forget about him investing anymore time reading it. He’ll probably just skip to the next person.
Create a bulleted section that is NOT too text dense but is eye-catching and calls out the most important keywords relevant to the job. Put this in the top one-third of the resume to catch the employer’s attention. Again, it’s all about making the information they’re looking for easy to find.
WAY Too Much Text
Let me tell you a little secret we professional resume writers use:
Keep your paragraphs to a maximum of 3-5 sentences or bullets long—especially your opening career summary and personal branding section.
If your text is too dense, the recruiter is not going to waste (or invest) the time necessary to learn more about you. Most hiring managers will just quickly scan your resume—just like you scan articles like this one or stories on the Web.
Of course, there are many other factors to consider when writing your resume, but incorporate these tips into your resume and the hiring manager will invest more time in reading the content – and is far more likely to call you for the interview!
About the Author: A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. With more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, she has developed innovative and proven resume development, and personal branding strategies to generate powerful results for clients.
As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted on CNN.com, Monster.com, Job Talk America radio, SmartBrief, International Business Times, and more. Jessica has her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of North Florida. Contact Jessica on Twitter!