The Job Seeker Mistake That’s a Real Deal Killer

mistakeOne hidden mistake. That’s all it takes. Especially a job seeker mistake. And most people don’t even know that they are doing it.

What I am talking about is a hidden mistake that can seep down into your psyche and truly wreak havoc.

Well, what is this completely avoidable mistake almost every job seeker makes, even today?

It’s when you ask a good friend, spouse/partner, parent or friend in human resources to read your résumé after you’ve finished the latest version. You know, that person whose eyes are the last to see your resume before you hit ‘Send’.

Say what?! This mistake is a deal killer with multiple layers. Here’s why…

You and You Alone Know Your Career the Best

People that work with you or are very close to you really only know a small portion of your persona, abilities, skills, and experience. They start reading your résumé with a specific bias already in place. You are the only one who has the whole picture, so when you ask someone else to read your career document, you are inviting personal bias into the document.

And the hidden mistake is that we already try to keep personal bias out of the document in order to provide a more objective overview of your qualifications and background; adding in the feedback from others may seem on-point, but what you are really doing is weighting the document down with bias all over again.

Of Course Your Loved One Thinks You Are the Best

But they aren’t necessarily the best at talking about you in résumé terms. Whoever is reading your résumé likely is a good friend or has a strong affinity with you, so of course they think you walk on water. You can do anything! But are they really going to tell you that you suck at a particular skill that you are proud of? Nope.

The Discipline of Human Resources Is a Subjective Sport

If you enlist a friend who is a recruiter / human resources manager / hiring manager, they are going to give you specific advice on how to structure the document according to their own personal beliefs and preferences. Does that fly for everyone? Nope.

Which leads me to my final point:

There Is No Perfect Way to Write a Résumé

If someone is insisting that you re-write your résumé a specific way, they have their horse blinders on. Until there is a standardization of formats, you are stuck with writing a résumé that tells your story the best way you can in order to share value. Unfortunately, there is a lot of advice out there (read: bad advice) which is outdated, so your best bet is to read up on résumé writing trends, then take the approach that best serves your needs to tell your career story.

So avoid making the job seeker mistake made by way too many.

Do what you do best, and if you want a truly impartial party to give feedback, in your next interview, ask the employer what made them select your résumé out of the pile. Then you know how well you are telling your story and showing real value to a potential employer.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Pathfinder Writing and Career Services!




Dawn Rasmussen 3About the Author: Dawn Rasmussen, CMP is President of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, a provider of results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Dawn is also the official “Get the Job” columnist for One+ Magazine distributed to over 26,000 meeting professionals worldwide and, a job resource site for creative and marketing professionals. Dawn is also a recognized career expert on – a top 10 world-ranked career advice blog – and a regular contributor to’s #TChat. Follow Dawn on Twitter!



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