1. Templates are the devil.
Employers scan hundreds of resumes a day for their job openings. If your resume is a template being used by tons of other people, don’t be surprised if your resume “accidentally” ends up in the trash. You want to stand out among the competition and companies expect personalized resumes that express your intentions and what you can do for them. To put it simply, templates are lame, don’t use them.
2. Flashy graphics impress no one.
Unless you’re applying for a design related field, keep the flashy graphics off your page. More and more employers are complaining about distracting graphics like crazy borders and cheesy clip art that take away from a job seekers true intention. It’s okay to be creative, just don’t turn your resume into a third grader’s collage project.
3. Wrong format, you doormat!
So you’ve finally done it. Created a resume so perfect you can eat off it! You excitedly email it over to a potential employer waiting on bated breath for the call back. But did you check how you sent it? 4 out of 10 resumes are sent in a format that employers can’t open. That’s nearly half! Employers are busy so they won’t stop to notify you that your resume couldn’t be opened; they’ll just move on to the next person. Make sure you are sending your resume in a readable format like .doc or .rtf to ensure it can be opened faster than a present on Christmas morning!
4. Focus, pocus!
If your resume lacks focus, you’ll blow your chance for an interview. Hiring managers aren’t mind readers so you have to spell out how you can help them. If you send them a “one size fits all” general resume that doesn’t highlight your goals, your qualifications, or how you can benefit them, all your hard work will be for naught. Be sure to highlight what you can do and if you are transitioning careers, express how your previous skills translate to their advantage.
5. Size matters.
You are not writing a novel. Or maybe you are, but your resume certainly doesn’t have to be one. The average employer spends 10 seconds quickly scanning that resume it took hours for you to build. So if you send of a four page resume with unrelated jobs dating back to the Reagan era, you’re in for a world of disappointment. To put it frankly, get to the point. Use bullets to streamline or use creative page formatting to keep your resume down to one page if possible, and two only if you have a lot of relevant experience needed for the job.
6. Not a personal’s ad.
Not to be mean, but the company you are applying for doesn’t care about you. There I said it. An employer simply wants to know what YOU can do for THEM. So listing your love of skiing, rock collecting, and underwater basket weaving under the very dated “hobbies and interests” section on your resume won’t do you any good unless it‘s related to the job. Employers don’t want to date you. They want to hire you. So keep your resume short, sweet, and leave off that you’re in a garage band , worship a goat, or that you’re a struggling single mother of a piano prodigy.
7. And the winner of the spelling bee is…
In this fabulous age of modern technology, there is absolutely no excuse for spelling errors! Nothing screams lack of attention to detail and professionalism more than bad spelling. There’s this marvelous little invention called spell check. Use it. And while you’re at it, take the time to re-read your resume in case there are accidental misspellings the spell check won’t catch such as calling yourself a “Marketing Nina” when you meant a “Marketing Ninja.” Little details like misspellings and incorrect grammar turns employers off like a leaky faucet. It also helps to have an honest friend or colleague look over your resume with a fresh set of eyes to catch something you may have missed.
Make sure your resume isn’t victim to one of these seven resume killers. And every few months, even if you’re employed update and revamp your resume with a little C.P.R. Contributions, progress, and results you’ve achieved. You have less than thirty seconds to make a good impression, so really take the time to make it count!