How hard can it be to write a resume? You’d be surprised how many resumes I see everyday with these 5 errors that are so easy to correct.
Stop using First Person/Third Person.
- Your name is at the top of the resume, the last thing the recruiter wants to do is read that “I did this” or “I was”. The only thing worse than this is “John did this” or “Mr. Smith did that”. Your name is at the top of the resume, it doesn’t have to be in the body of the resume.
- Replace the nouns with ACTION WORDS. Completed, Increased, Decreased, Improved, Mentored, Trained – to name just a few. There are a number of websites out there with 100’s of action words to choose from, try this one if you’re stuck ActionWords
Age discrimination happens. Make sure you don’t fall into the too old pile of discarded resumes. You need to get to the interview stage before hitting the reject pile. So a couple of simple things to do
- If you graduated before 1990, leave the date off of your degree/diploma. Just put in the school and your program
- Any positions more than 20 years old, list under a blanket “Previous Positions”. List these companies and positions, but leave off the dates.
List your Achievements not your Duties/Responsibilities:
Your duties/responsibilities are basically the job description. Employers want to know how you excelled at your duties, “what did you achieve while in this position”.
- Get rid of the line “Duties include” or “Responsibilities include”. Don’t even put down “Achievements include”. Just list your achievements.
- How did you go above and beyond your duties/responsibilities.
- What did you do that improved the processes?
- Did you find problems within the system that you were able to correct to increase productivity?
- Did systems run smoother because of your attention to detail?
- Did you help your employer to: save/make money, save time, attract/retain customers, improve customer service.
Not tuning your Resume to the Job Posting:
Before sending out your resume, fine tune it to the Job Posting. If the job posting is looking for specific details then make sure they are in the resume and easy to find. Don’t bury things on the 3rd page that are critical to the posting.
- Profile: This is a great place to list specific qualifications and skills that they are looking for:
- Five years experience working with Java, J2EE in the financial industry.
- Education: if they are looking for a degree or certification then put it on the first page where they can see it at a glance.
- Technologies: again if they are asking for specific technologies then put it on the first page under a “Technology” category.
- Key Words: It seems to be key words are all resume writers talk about nowadays. They are that important. So use them, read the job posting and use it to help fine tune your resume.
Layout – keep it simple
- Profile, Education, Technologies, Experience. These 4 headings cover everything you need on your resume that an employer wants to see/read.
- Use a clean and professional layout. No boxes, no pictures, no logos. Employers scan 100’s of resumes a day, the last thing they want to do is have to find key information in amongst all the pretty graphics.
- ATS systems don’t necessarily look for MicroSoft logos, but they will look for MCSE, MicroSoft, etc. If you just put the logo in, it may get overlooked.
- Converting documents from different systems can leave off information if it is not in a simple format. I have seen boxes in Word get copied over to Lotus Notes without the information inside the box. Usually you put this information in the box because you feel it is important. Well guess what, it wasn’t copied over and now can’t be found by the search system.
- Clean, white background, black type, bold, CAPS, italics (if you have to).
- Easy to read font – tahoma, arial, 10 pt, no smaller than 12 pt (think of the reading glass generation)
- Yes I know the above sounds boring, but it is effective.
Good Luck Job Hunting
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