Friday, October 23, 2009

10 Resume Sins to Avoid

3. Too cute or overly fancy fonts.

Too tiny or excessively fancy fonts can make it impossible to read your resume unless zoomed to 200% size or reformatted to a different font style. This will be more trouble than most readers will have time for. Thus your resume’s probability of being discarded in the circular or “delete” folder increases dramatically. Always use conventional text such as Times Roman (found in most newspapers) or Arial (found in many websites, E-zines, or advertising text).

4. Electronically Unfriendly Resume.

Not being “electronically savvy” in formatting the resume results in an electronically UNFRIENDLY resume format. Even if you create your resume from scratch and avoid the templates referred to in item #1 above, you must still exercise diligence. Avoid excessive graphics, clip art, cells, or tables. If you are a graphic artist or other fine artist, send your fancy PDF formatted resume along with the more plain MS Word rendition so someone has both versions.

Search Google with the key phrase “scannable resume” and you will find thousands of articles that provide many of the same, repeated guidelines for making certain your resume can be “read” by electronic corporate scanning systems.

5. Duplicate, conflicting or overlapping jobs.

Listing jobs such as weekend retail or Golf Course jobs, weekend real estate sales, retail store jobs, or others which conflict with the ultimate goal of the career you are pursuing accomplishes nothing other than sending contradictory messages. Never list overlapping jobs to make up for what you feel might be shortcomings in your “daytime” position. This will only confuse things and if you are lucky to obtain the interview will place you at the defensive end of a line of questioning that is counterproductive.

6. Splitting or embedding your “contact infor-mation.”

Never split your contact info so that part of it remains at the top of the resume while forcing the remaining remnant to down to the bottom. If someone has to search the bottom for the phone number, email address, or remaining contact info, they may easily get distracted before ever calling you … and move on to the next resume. Most individuals only spend three seconds looking at a resume and then move on to the next. Make sure your complete contact info including cell phone and email is all in one conspicuous location at the top. If you have a two-page resume, make sure you repeat the contact info on page two in the event it becomes separated from page one. This prevents “orphan” resume pages that no one can figure to whom they belong.

7. Inclusion of too-personal information.

Maybe you’re proud of your Democratic fundraising volunteer work. Or of your active membership in La Leche, PETA, or some other group. You should never mention marital status, size of family, political organizations or any other group unless it is related to the job you are applying for.

None of these items will add any benefit to the value of your resume. In fact, if the person you are meeting happens to be Republican and you mentioned working for a Democratic fund raiser … it will almost certainly backfire against you. Same goes for religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc. It’s nobody’s business so why advertise it?

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