As a professional resume writer who has seen and written tens of thousands of resumes it does not take long to notice an average resume, a good resume and a great resume! In my experience talking with job seekers, the hardest part about actually writing the resume is knowing exactly what goes in the resume and where. Once the job seeker has compiled all their information, the next tough part is formatting and presenting the resume.
In order to get the job one needs to stand out from competitors, it is necessary to have an understanding of what hiring managers want to see in a resume (remember that hiring managers are our target market when it comes to preparing our resume) and is critical to finding the job.
Although you may feel that you are the best job candidate for a particular position (and you may well be) if your resume does not attract the eye of the hiring manger and keep them interested then you will not get the job. Job seeking is a cut throat business so ensure you give yourself the greatest opportunity of finding success.
From my experience the top 5 most common resume writing mistakes are as follows:
1) Trying to make the resume too artistic instead of focusing on value:
Your professional resume has one aim which is to assist you in getting to the interview. That is all! Focus your resume on value added information as opposed to trying to make it stand out with fancy colors, tables, fonts and headings. Not only is this off putting to read, but many times resumes are put through recruiting software programs which are unable to read tables, diagrams and pictures.
2) Only listing responsibilities:
An average resume will list responsibilities and daily duties throughout the resume. (Boring!) A great resume will turn these responsibilities into achievement statements. Rather than telling the reader what you do on a daily basis – rather promote your duties through highlighting your achievements. In today’s society, businesses are searching for employees who can add value to their organization. The easiest way to show your value is through the introduction of achievement statements.
3) No employment dates:
It still amazes me when I see a resume that has either no employment dates or inconsistent dates. My advice on this matter is simple. INCLUDE DATES! A lack of employment dates indicates to me that either the job candidate is trying to cover up something or they are sloppy. Either way no employment dates equals no job.
4) Text message resume:
Your resume is a professional document not a twitter message. Remember to use proper sentences and correct words. Texting a friend “Going 2 C clients” is fine but on your resume it portrays an unprofessional image.
The longest resume does not get the job. Resume readers tend to have little patience, especially when they have a stack of hundreds of resume sitting on their desk. Rather than trying to stick your entire life’s history in your resume, rather focus on highlighting relevant information that targets the job description. Receiving your CPR certificate is relevant when you’re applying for a job that requires this, such as a lifesaver or swimming instructor. It isn’t so relevant if you received your CPR certificate 10 years ago, and now you’re going for a job as a CEO of an accounting firm.
Finding employment is tough work. As a job seeker you have no control over a variety of elements such as employer perceptions, personal preferences or the competitors for the job. However, by eliminating mistakes and focusing your resume on how you can add value to the organization will ensure that you give yourself the greatest chance of getting that dream job!
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