There are many common mistakes that people make on their resumes. These mistakes are often fatal. As the primary introductory marketing document for your job search. these are items to avoid:
An “Objective” statement. This is all fluff, and most recruiters and hiring mangers don’t even bother to read it.
Poor grammar: there is no excuse for poor grammar. Be careful about relying too heavily on spell and grammar check – there are many variations of the same words that have vastly different meanings, spellings, usages, and the like.
A resume that reads like a tombstone. That’s what I call them, anyway. Just listing your past jobs and their duties doesn’t really tell anyone anything about you. Always ask yourself – “why am I listing this. What do I hope the person reading it gets from it?”. If you can’t answer that, nix the entry.
Make it easy for the reader to pick out key words related to the specific position for which you are applying so that they see relevance; they are likely to go back and read what you’ve written far more carefully; after all, that’s what you want, right?
Pages – if you’re new to the world of work, your resume should not be more than one page, absent some very, very compelling reason. If you’re experienced, try to keep it to two pages; for highly experienced executives, it is often the case that resumes will go beyond two pages in order to highlight relevant accomplishments. The key is to have information that is valuable to the reader: fluff doesn’t fly in this case, and it’s the easiest way for a recruiter or a hiring manager not to continue (or even to start) reading your resume. Not what you want.
Keep enough whitespace on the resume so that it’s pleasing to the eye and easy to read. Cramming more data into smaller margins or fonts only makes it harder to read; the harder it is to read, the less likely it will be read.
Chronological resumes usually work the best. Functional resumes are good for career changers, or those with many jobs and/or gaps in employment. Most well trained recruiters and hiring managers are going to be immediately suspicious if they see a functional resume, so if you want to use one, and there certainly are times when it’s appropriate, be sure you know why and that it serves the purpose for which it is intended: to get you an interview!!
There is a wide disparity of opinion about cover letters. I still find them valuable. It’s a chance for me to check out your writing skills, your thought process, and perhaps for you to tell me a bit more about why you’re a great fit for the position that I may have open than I would otherwise glean from reading your resume.
If you’re unsure about whether your resume is up to par, especially with all of the competition in today’s market, I would suggest that you consult a resume writer who has actual hiring experience, and perhaps a career coach.
Copyright Â© 2010, Michael Trust & Associates. All Rights Reserved. www.MichaelTrustAssociates.com
Michael Trust, MPA, SPHR-CA is a Career Coaching professional, and president of Michael Trust & Associates, http://www.MichaelTrustAssociates.com, a Career Coaching firm. His Coaching and Human Resources experience spans twenty years, and he has had major roles in staffing in all of his Human Resource positions. In addition, he has coached individuals at all career levels relative to their career paths, job search strategies, and related areas.