Do You Really Want That Job? Six Things On Your Resume Says You Don’t.

Writing a resume seems pretty easy and straightforward.  All you need to do is have a catchy job objective and slap on your career history and you’re good to go, right?  Wrong.  Creating a coherent resume that flows well and captures a hiring executive’s attention is not easy.  You have to be willing to spend time (more than 20 minutes) on developing a resume that will stand out from the other 100+ people in your field who are competing for the very same position.  Whether you are just venturing into the work force, or you are an executive with more than 20 years of experience, you need to remember that there is more to your resume than what you’ve done (or haven’t done).  Don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you even have an interview.  Presentation and professionalism are key.  Listed below are six things to keep in mind while writing your resume.

1)    Spelling and Grammatical Errors –

While this might seem like common sense you might be surprised by the number of resumes recruiters and hiring executives receive with various errors, including the using the wrong word (insure instead of ensure), misplaced or forgotten punctuation , and simple spelling mistakes (‘recieved’ instead of ‘received’).  When you send your resume to a prospective employer and it is riddled with errors, you’ve effectively knocked yourself out of the running.  If you can’t act professionally by making the time and effort to present a clean and coherent document for prospective employers, how can they expect you to do the same for your job?

There are a few simple ways you can avoid sending out a flawed resume.  The first is to see if the word processing program on your computer is equipped with a spell/grammar check feature (many of them are).  Now, re-read your resume to make sure you didn’t use the wrong variation of a word (their instead of there) as spell/grammar check programs won’t pick up on that.  Next, make sure you are using the right word to convey your meaning.  Look it up in a dictionary, or use a free online dictionary, such as dictionary.com.  Finally, if it’s been a while since you’ve brushed up on your grammar, borrow a grammar book from the library or buy one from your local bookstore.  Many writers refer to The Elements of Style (Fourth Edition) by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.

2)    Convoluted Job Objective

Many people learned how to write a very basic resume in school that included an objective at the very top that stated what you had to offer and what kind of company you were looking for.  This is not a true objective.  It’s a convoluted phrase that weakens your resume and prevents you from truly representing yourself.  When you write your resume, you want to have a clear job objective in mind, so you can state in a few words what position you are after.  For example, ‘Sales Management Qualifications’ is a much stronger and direct objective than ‘To offer my extensive skills and over 20 years experience to a leading company with growth potential.’  The last thing you want is to submit your resume for a job and have HR or the hiring executive toss it because they can’t figure out what position you want to be considered for.  Once you’ve decided on your job objective, then you can include a brief paragraph about how many years of experience you have and what you’re capable of.

3)    Shifting Point of View (POV)

Writing a resume can be compared to writing a work of fiction.  I’m not talking about making things up (that’s problem #5) like writers do for short stories and novels.  I’m talking about narrative flow and point of view.  Think about the last time you read a really good book.  If the story was in third person, did it suddenly shift to first person mid sentence?  No.  That type of writing not only shows a lack of understanding regarding POV, but it would throw the reader out of the story.  This principle can be applied to resume writing.  You don’t want to start your resume off in the third person and then shift to first person within a job description.  Not only it is it unprofessional to write your resume in the first person, you also give the impression that your written communication skills are lacking in addition to having a split personality.  Stick to third person when writing your resume and save the first person POV for your cover letter.  And don’t include your name in the resume.  Your resume has your name at the top, so no one is going to get confused as to who you’re talking about.

4)    Crazy Designs, Colored Paper, and Hard To Read Fonts

You don’t have to be flashy to get your resume noticed.  Having a streamlined, easy to read, graphic free resume will set you apart from countless prospects.  This means that unicorns, boxing gloves, and your headshot are not appropriate graphics to put on your resume.  Use that neon green paper for party invitations, not your resume.  Also, don’t go below a size ten for your font and stick with fonts that are easy on the eyes such as Times New Roman, Courier, and Arial.  Do you really want to send the hiring executive to the ophthalmologist just so you could appear different?

5)    The Resume That Never Ends

As I mentioned in point #3, writing your resume is similar to writing a story.  However, what type of story do you think is more effective for the first step of obtaining a new job, a novel or short story?  If you think a novel is more effective, think about the last time you read something over 600 pages and how long it took to complete.  I know that a 10-page resume is not quite the same as a 600-page novel, but the attitude is.  You’re more likely to curl up with a good, long book when you have the time.  A hiring executive doesn’t have the time to devote to your War and Peace resume.  They have about 30 seconds to make a decision, so give them a dynamic career synopsis that leaves them wanting more.  One or two pages is usually sufficient to convey enough information.  And just incase you’re wondering, this doesn’t mean cramming your entire career history in eight point Arial Narrow onto two pages (see problem #4).  If you have to adjust your font below ten to get your resume to two pages, then you need to do some serious trimming.  Also, keep your experience limit to a 20-year span.  Anything more than that dates you and your experience.  You can always go into more detail during the interview.

6)    Lying

Don’t do it.  Even if you don’t get caught before the interview, you most likely will later on down the road and whatever trust and credibility you gained will be destroyed.  Do you really want to build your career on a foundation of lies and deceit?

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~ by thecareeradvisor on July 27, 2010.

One Response to “Do You Really Want That Job? Six Things On Your Resume Says You Don’t.”

  1. These tips are so true

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