Sorry, Your Resume Sucks

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We are smack-dab in the middle of a hiring storm. Don’t believe me? Our firm secured THREE new searches in the first 3 days of this week. Trust us, companies are on the hunt!

This is great news for job seekers because you are certainly in the driver’s seat…. But the competition is fierce! To nab your ideal role, your first impression is going to have to be equally fierce. Ideally, it will be made face-to-face or at least by word of mouth through a mutual acquaintance or networking opportunity. Not everyone is that lucky – leaving your resume to do the talking for you. Take it from the experts, few things will take you out of the running for your ideal job like a subpar resume.

As a job seeker, you want your resume to stand out among the crowd… but for the right reasons. Poor grammar, spelling mistakes, excessive use of industry related jargon, and too many words are common mistakes. Here are a few more you need to watch out for…

10 Reasons Your Resume Sucks 

You included your address or “extras”

Location matters, even in our current remote environment. Telecommuting will not be the long term new normal for many organizations. In office face time (even 1-2 days per week) may be expected when it’s safe. If you are looking at a local position, it is appropriate to include your city and state only. Photos and hobbies are another resume no-no. If you want the hiring manager to get to know you, take them to the place they can get to know you bestyour LinkedIn Profile. Including a direct link to your LI page allows a hiring manager or recruiter to learn more about your professional and educational experience, volunteer opportunities, leadership roles, etc.

You’re using an Objective instead of a Professional Summary

Looking to apply your experience and talent with a company that will provide you the opportunity to grow? So is everyone else. So, leave off the objective. Hiring managers spend approximately six seconds looking at your resume before deciding whether you’re a viable candidate or not. Therefore, you need come out of the gate with a BANG! Replace your old Objectives with a well-developed, concise Professional Summary that provides a clear overview of who you are as a professional.

You did not include a Summary of Qualifications

We like to think of this as your highlight reel. Developing a bulleted list of skills and experience and inserting it at the top of your resume will allow the hiring manager to see your best moves during the six seconds he or she is going to initially invest in getting to know you.

You’re still relying on your Education to get you in the door

Unless you are a recent graduate, your practical experience will far outweigh your classroom experience in both time and relevance. Relevant and important degrees show you meet certain job requirements, but it should not be at the top of your resume.  Exceptions: A doctorate degree, masters, or relevant certification should highlighted by simply including the post-nominal initials.  This is especially true for certain types of positions, especially technical positions. Some companies prefer to hire professional with an advanced degree or specialty certification such as PHR (Professional in Human Resources).  Note: including fraternity/sorority, club, or volunteer experience it is not considered unprofessional, but placement is key.

You’ve included unnecessary information

You only get 6 seconds, remember? Hiring managers do not want to know what you minored in or your graduating GPA. They want to know why you will be an asset to their organization. What do you bring to the table?

Your titles are too vague

Director, Manager, Assistant Manager, Vice President, Senior, Managing Director. There are a myriad of professional titles used today. Hiring managers want to see what roles you have had in the past and what roles you are targeting in your current search. If you are looking for a senior level position, provide evidence of your experience with that type of role. “Manager” does not adequately define your seniority.

Your job description is boring

Although most job descriptions are typically bulleted lists, this is your time to shine and sell your experience and impact in previous organization. “Managed” and “responsible for” is using passive language. Add life to your experience by using dynamic word choices such as:

  • Drove
  • Developed
  • Instituted
  • Designed
  • Created
  • Implemented
  • Built

Your resume isn’t unique & is hard to read

Unless you are looking for a job in the creative sector – design, graphics, advertising – using multiple font styles and sizes is distracting for a hiring manager. Six seconds of scanning, remember? Varying the color of topics or sections make your resume appear unprofessional and unintentionally takes away from the value of the content you’ve included. If you want your resume to stand out visually, try avoiding common fonts such as Times New Roman and use clean-looking fonts such as Helvetica or Calibri.

Your companies have no descriptions

Few of us have worked for juggernauts like Nike or Google. Include a one sentence company description to demonstrate the industries you have experience in.  In addition, “this description will also help the reader put your title into perspective… For instance, if you’re currently a director at a small company, including this description will help the reader understand why you may be targeting a manager-level role at a much larger organization,” Augustine says.

You don’t show your value by highlighting what you’ve achieved

The last thing you want is for your resume to read as a job description. Tasks and duties included have value, but your resume must demonstrate what you bring to the table, why you will be an asset to the company. Highlight your successes. Be specific. Numbers and percentages are excellent ways to show what you’ve achieved. Include money saved, sales projections exceeded, increases in ROI, and acquired accounts, clients, or revenue. Emphasize your achievements to demonstrate the value you added to your previous company and what can your potential new company can expect from you. Note: Do not emphasize your success while diminishing the contributions of your team. Share examples of delegation or processes/procedures you created to incorporate your workmates.

You’re only going to get six seconds, so make them count. As cliché as it sounds, you will never get a second chance to make a first impression. With an average of 250 resumes for every corporate position, facetime in the initial phase of a job search is almost an impossibility. Develop a concise, dynamic, easy to read, error-free resume that highlights your successes, skill set, and experience and leaves a recruiter wanting more and you’ll earn that facetime.

For a Job Search tips and Resume Myths & Must Haves visit our Ultimate Job Search Guide.

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