Your resume is a marketing piece that usually provides you one opportunity to make a great impression. Needless to say, ensuring that you send out your best is essential. Chances are, you will get a million different perspectives on resume writing from professional resume writers. The key is to make sure that your resume truly highlights what you will bring to a perspective employer and gets in front of the Hiring Manager as I wrote about here. Here are some tips to ensure that once you get your resume in front of the person responsible for hiring it’s not thrown directly into the trash.
1. Long Paragraphs
Put yourself in the seat of the person looking over your resume. Often time’s, attention spans are low with very high demands placed on time. If it were me looking over your resume it would get tossed within two seconds if I spotted paragraphs on your resume. I bet Hiring Managers feel the same way. With the advance of technology we have become accustomed to instant gratification. Videos, social media, microwave ovens and commercials all aide in making our attention spans short. Make the information on your resume easy to ready by using bullets. Instead of using a paragraph to describe what you have done at your previous places of employment, sum it up in one or two sentences. Then go directly to bulleting all your accomplishments.
2. Too Many Bullets
I recommend limiting the amount of bullets to 4 or 5 per job. Also, bullets should focus on accomplishments as opposed to tasks. Everyone knows what you do at your job from the job title, so no one wants to read a long list of job duties. Besides, you should have already summed up what you do each day before listing your accomplishments. When outlining your accomplishments use this equation:
Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z].
Start with an active verb, numerically measure what you accomplished, provide a baseline for comparison, and detail what you did to achieve your goal. Remember, people have short attention spans, pick out the most significant accomplishments and save more to discuss in the job interview; 10 – 15 bullets are just too many.
3. Meaningless List of Terms
This is probably the one thing I see most in the resumes I review. People are getting too caught up in trying to put key words in their resume and not focusing on telling their story and highlighting their brands. The results look something like this:
No one will read all of this information, and they may experience system overload upon opening your document. These two examples make me want to run away fast. In the profile area on the first example, the sentences are too long and fail to grab attention. This is a classic example of what I call robotic speak in 3rd person. Using boring terms like “highly motivated “or “goal oriented” is outdated. Not to mention these terms are pushing soft skills as opposed to telling a story and highlighting your brand. You can read my post about putting a human voice in your resume here. The second example uses a lot of HR related terms in an attempt to use key words. This type of usage is almost always at the top of the resume. The upper part of your resume is very important, as it will determine if a person wants to read your document further. Instead of using meaningless terms and information, actually add information related to what the employer is looking for. If you possess the skills they are looking for and the required qualifications, it would behoove you to list them at the top of your document.
It goes without saying that you want to check for grammatical and spelling errors. You can spot a few spelling errors in the second example I provided. The overall theme of what I am trying to communicate is the idea that people are pressed for time, so you have to organize your resume with this in mind. Long paragraphs, too many bullets, and meaningless lists of information, all aide in making your resume tedious to review. If you have any of these common mishaps in your resume change them immediately. Don’t gamble with the idea of modifying your resume on your own if you know you don’t possess the knowledge or skills to do so. Seek help from a professional. I would love to assist you in this endeavor. If you are someone you that needs assistance with writing your resume, feel free to reach out to me any time. Remember first impressions are lasting.
Thanks for reading my post! I am the owner of Career SkyRocket LLC a professional resume writing, career coaching, and training service. I have also been published on CAREEREALISM as well. Follow my blog Career Thoughts. Let’s Connect! Follow me on Twitter, visit my Facebook page, or connect with me on LinkedIn.