Thursday, May 2, 2013

7 Resume Writing Mistakes to Avoid

Resume blunders that cost job seekers dearly


Most people view resumes as a necessary evil and I can completely understand why. A good resume takes thought, some creativity, an ability to “sell yourself” and some basic marketing principles. Yet, the resume is so vitally important. As I have said before, the resume must evoke an emotion in the eyes of the reader and compel them to pick up the phone an give you a call. Your resume really is a marketing piece at a very basic level.

I want to share with you what I believe are the top 7 resume blunders. Trust me, I have seen them all over the last eight years as an Executive Recruiter. In fact, I have a “running” Word document that I add to on a weekly basis anytime I come across a funny, unusual, or bizarre item on a resume. One day I will share it with the world and you will not believe what I have seen on resumes.

Anyways, back to the purpose of the blog post. If I were to take all of the blunders I have seen I could place them into 7 basic categories. I would encourage you to take time to measure your resume up against these blunders and be sure that these are not true about your resume.


1. Lack of Focus – If anything bugs me more it is seeing a resume that has no focus. I have seen great candidates with bad resumes and a lack of focus on their resume is what is keeping them from getting in the door for an interview.

SOLUTION: Have a solid summary statement at the beginning of the resume. Personally, I am not a big fan of “Objective Statements.” I just don’t think they are very useful. However, a nice summary statement or qualifications summary at the beginning can work well. The idea is to have a paragraph at the beginning of the resume that “sells you” into the position.

Now, you may need to tailor this to specific positions before you submit it but the idea is to have compelling statements that are clear as to what you are trying to accomplish and what you are all about.

2. Too Wordy – There are some people who want to put “everything” on their resume. Their philosophy is that if it isn’t on the resume then they will think I don’t have the experience. The problem is that your “presentation” on a resume is just as important. The reader is judging your overall presentation based on how the resume looks and if you are able to say things concisely.

SOLUTION: If you are under 5 years of experience try to stick with a one page resume. If you are a 5-15 year person then you have earned a two-page resume. If you have more than 15 years of experience then you can go to a three-page resume. However, I would normally recommend that you stay to two pages if at all possible.

Another tip that is becoming common practice is to list at the bottom of the resume “Additional Professional Experience Available Upon Request.” This can help those who have a 20+ year career and are struggling with keeping their resume short. It can also help you if you feel like your age is becoming a factor in your job search (although, it is not supossed to!).

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