Friday, October 23, 2009

7 Resume Writing Mistakes to Avoid

6. Using a non-conventional format – Please get this point: doing something on a resume that no one else is doing will not make you stand out. In fact, it can damage you and make your appear like you lack a professional presence. Now, if you are in a creative profession then maybe there is some room for some creativity, but this will not be true for 90% of the audience reading this. There are some creative ways to market and do some other activities but definitely not on the resume itself.

SOLUTION: Use a standard, conventional resume format (and font). Again, there is no need to get too creative here. I have received resumes in a Microsoft Excel document believe it or not. Also, remember that your resume will be viewed for the first time on the actual computer screen 99% of the time. If your resume does not look good on the computer screen itself than start over with a new format. This is why I am not a big fan of resumes that are in tables on a Word document. To me, it just does not look clean, concise or crisp.

7. Too much miscellaneous information – I have seen some of the most bizarre things on a resume. A resume is not for listing out all the hobbies and extra-curricular activities that you are a part of. I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but you are taking a real chance here. It will either work out great or really bad. There really is no middle ground here in my opinion. Of course, I understand that when you are a fresh graduate that you need to fill up your resume and put as much as you can in there in order to just get started in your career and convince someone to give you a shot.

However, letting a future employer know that you call bingo for a retirement facility every Tuesday night might not help you land the interview. Listing all of your hobbies out on your resume is not a good idea in my opinion either. Again, this can go either way for you so why risk the chance. Also, know when it is time to drop something off of a resume. If you were a state champion in wrestling and you are now 35 years old it is time to let it go. Companies are looking for people who are forward thinkers.

SOLUTION: When in doubt, leave it out! Simple advice but I think I have made my point. If you have a spouse, ask them if you should include the information on your resume. They will tell you the truth!

So, how did you do? Did you compare your resume with these top blunders. If so, remove them immediately. Like I said in the beginning, I have met great candidates with bad resumes. Do not let your resume be a roadblock to getting your foot in the door.

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