Five Common Missteps that Weaken Your Resume
If you looked at hundreds of resumes a day like hiring managers and recruiters sometimes do, they all begin to look alike. With that in mind, how should one avoid presenting a resume that blends in with the competition? Here are some common resume mistakes that cause hiring managers' eyes to glaze over, leaving your resume lost in the sea of competition.
Relying too much on personal branding. Though personal branding is a big buzz phrase these days it is a mistake to think you will get hired if you have a dynamite “brand”. Don’t spend too much of your time painting a lovely picture of yourself using fancy wording; hiring managers see so many branding statements it is very difficult to create a unique one these days. Instead, show your value by highlighting your accomplishments and experiences.
Using vague, generic language. Does your resume state that you are “task oriented”, an “excellent communicator”, or a “team player”? So does everyone else’s! Not only are they overly general, these are skills that are almost always expected to fill every available job. They are not skills that will make you stand out as unique. Notable skills would be those that are measurable (80 WPM, record sales results, etc.), those that fit the job description perfectly (QuickBooks proficiency, Java expertise, etc.), and those that are just extraordinary (tri-lingual, Six Sigma Black Belt, etc.). Don’t be afraid to be specific!
Focusing too much on job responsibilities. Most of the resumes I come across contain at least one of the following phrases: “Assisted with”, “Responsible for”, “Completed”, or “Worked on”. Hiring managers expect that you can complete the tasks of the job, and want to know that you have a track record of going above and beyond in your work history. Start by looking at your previous positions and asking yourself how you improved, expanded, or changed those positions while in them. Then, create accomplishment-focused bullets that show you do more than just show up for work.
Giving too much personal information. I have actually seen resumes that included photos, marital status, stated gender, nationality, birthdate, and even family member names. None of these aspects of your life are appropriate for your resume, so remember to keep it professional. Also, pay close attention to the memberships and affiliations you list. Religious and political affiliations may work against you unless they apply directly to the prospective job.
Using overly ornate formatting. Design professionals are essentially the only people who may benefit from a decorative resume. Fancy or cutesy formatting only serves as a distraction from the quality content in your resume. Keep it clean and straightforward with an adequate amount of white space.
Strong resumes are smart, concise, and clearly reflect what you are capable of. Distracting readers by using generic or meaningless wording or designs only serves to hide your fantastic qualifications and makes your resume blend in with the rest. Learn from these common mistakes and your resume will have a better chance of getting noticed!
About The Author:
is a Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW), author, and owner of Resume Rocketeer, Inc. With corporate expertise spanning marketing, communications, operations, and human resources, Cathy boasts a distinctive talent for maximizing client experiences to create compelling and effective resumes and cover letters that consistently win interviews. An accomplished author, Cathy also holds a B.S. in Journalism. For a free resume analysis, visit www.resumerocketeer.com