The war for talent rages on. It remains a candidate’s market; yet, there’s fierce competition to nab the hottest jobs.  Every job seeker knows, it’s all about making an impression.  Ideally, your first impression is made face-to-face or at least by word of mouth through a mutual acquaintance or networking opportunity. (Never underestimate the power of referrals in hiring) In reality, not everyone is that lucky, which leaves your resume to do the talking for you.

With the abundance of resume templates, tips, webinars, and paid services available, there should be nothing but strong resumes flooding the inboxes of hiring managers everywhere. As an executive recruiting firm, we can tell you that is definitely not the case. We continue to see poor resumes on a daily basis. Heed our warning Job Seekers: It doesn’t matter who you know, a subpar resume will drop the hammer on your job search.

Misspelled words and choppy professional histories are a few of the resume fails we see but there are many more…

8 Reasons Your Resume is Preventing You from Getting the Job 

You’ve included your address or other personal information

If you are looking at a local position, it is appropriate to include your city and state so the employer knows you are not a candidate in need of relocation. Photos and hobbies are another resume no-no. (Yes, we still see this.) With the large emphasis on “fit” and corporate culture, hiring managers want to know about more than your job experience. Send them to the place they can get to know you best professionally and personally… your LinkedIn Profile page. Including a direct link to your LinkedIn gives an executive recruiter or headhunter a more well-rounded picture of you.

You’re using an Objective, but should be using a Professional Summary

We all know the stats: Hiring managers spend approximately six seconds looking at your resume before deciding whether you’re a viable candidate to move forward in the hiring process. Therefore, you need to 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”. A well-developed bullet list of skills and experience should be at the top of your resume. The hiring manager will see your best moves during in those pivotal six seconds.

Your titles are too vague

Director, Manager, Assistant Manager, Vice President, Senior, Managing Director. There is a myriad of professional titles floating around. If you are looking for a senior-level position, provide evidence of that level or a similar one, which demonstrates your experience. “Director of HR” or “Digital Marketing Manager” tell a more complete story.

Your job description is boring

Job descriptions are your time to shine, sell your experience, and highlight the impact you’ve had in your previous organization. According to Amanda Augustine of TheLadders, “As your career progresses, the emphasis of your resume should change… Employers are no longer focusing on your education, relevant internships, and extracurricular activities. Now they’re more interested in the skill sets you’ve developed and the accomplishments you’ve achieved in your professional career. Your resume needs to tell your story.” “Managed” and “responsible for” are using passive language. Add life to your experience by using dynamic word choices such as: Drove, Developed, Instituted, Designed, Created, Implemented, or Built.

Your resume isn’t unique, it’s 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 who is quickly scanning your resume for keywords. Varying the color of topics or sections make your resume appear unprofessional and can unintentionally take 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

We can’t all work for Nike or Google. Less well-known organizations that need some clarification. Including a one-sentence company description allows hiring managers to get a feel for the types of industries in which you’ve worked. 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

A resume that gets you hired shows the hiring manager what you bring to the table, why you will be an asset to the company. This can only be done by highlighting your successes. Numbers and percentages are excellent ways to show what you’ve achieved. Include money saved, sales projections exceeded, increases in ROI, new business, or revenue that you are responsible for or had a hand in. Emphasizing your achievements demonstrates the value you added to your previous company and what can your potential new company can expect from you.

Get your resume on the top of the pile by highlighting your career strengths!

If you’re only going to get six seconds, you’d better 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 an impossibility. Job seekers who want to get hired develop a concise, dynamic, easy-to-read, error-free resume that highlights their successes, skill set, and experience. Resumes that get you hired leave an executive recruiter wanting more… in six seconds or less.

For a few more Resume Myths & Must Haves visit our Resume Toolbox

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