Resume writing and career advice
job search tips/workplace trends
Featuring career experts, recruiters, hiring managers and decision makers who help you get hired
I recently reviewed a resume that won a best resume award from a career publishing firm. I was eager to review this resume, to see if I could learn something new, to apply to the resumes I write.
I clicked on the sample link and couldn’t believe it. It was so busy, I didn’t know what this person was trying to do, or really, where to read or look to learn more about them. I sent it two recruiters – they voiced the same opinion. “This is way too busy,” one said. “This would go in the ‘maybe’ pile,” said another.
A resume shouldn’t include a career history, and it shouldn’t be so busy it is hard to read. Providing too much information is actually a negative.
That and more, is discussed below, as Henry Goldbeck, President of Goldbeck Recruiting, provides 5 common mistakes job seekers make when writing a resume:
1. Less is more: Candidates often write too much narrative instead of short meaningful concise sentences or bullet points. Employers or recruiters look at hundreds of resumes; make it easy and clear for them to see what you want them to see. On average hiring managers only look at your resume for about 30 seconds before deciding whether you fit the job qualifications. “Capture their attention so they read on,” says Goldbeck.
2. Avoiding simple information: Too many people do not answer the three basic questions we want answered when looking at a resume: 1 Your chronological work history. 2. What exactly did you do 3. What did you accomplish, preferably quantified. “It’s frustrating to read a resume and not understand what the individual did in his/her positions,” said Goldbeck. Also, include your city/location so recruiters or employers know where you live (this can be important in some cases).
3. Lack of quantifiable achievements: Achievements such as % increases in sales, % decrease in costs, improvements in quality, waiting time, customer satisfaction, deadlines, deliveries, are easy to read and understand and let the employer know that the candidate accomplished something and quantified it. It also shows you are results-oriented.
4. Lack of customization: Candidates who do not customize their resumes enough for the specific positions they are applying for make it easy for hiring managers to exclude them. With the ease of online research, you can customize each resume you send out, at least with the name of company and position being applied for on the resume itself.
5. Lack of Focus: Make sure to emphasize and repeat the most important points in the resume. What do you want this employer/recruiter to know about you? Dale Carnegie said about public speaking, “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.” Do the same with your resume. Use the introduction, the bullet points under each position and every opportunity to tell them what you want them to know about you. Outline your strategic advantages in regards to being a candidate for this position. Think of the person reading this resume; it is 6:30 p.m., their eyes are tired of looking at the screen, they want to go home and have a glass of wine but they want to finish up the digital pile of resumes, hoping for a winner to fill this position and get it off their desk. They are going to look at the resumes, but not read them. So, make it easy for them to see if you are a fit or not. Make it obvious and clear.
For more career advice, resume tips and job search information, check out Talent at Work, the HR, recruiting and career blog of Goldbeck Recruiting.
If you find yourself making these common mistakes, it may be time to hire a professional to write your resume.
About Matt Krumrie
In addition to writing resumes, Krumrie has published over 2,000 career and job search articles for CollegeRecruiter,