TOP RESUME MISTAKES MADE
Top Ten Mistakes Made
With the advent of computer technology and software for "do it yourself" resumes, many people are endeavoring to write their own resumes to market themselves in the job search. Most of our clients come to us with just such resumes in hand to either avail themselves of our editing services or to have us take over the difficult task of writing a powerful resume for them. Often, they have been using the resume in the job search, it just is not achieving the level of results they desire and they are puzzled as to the reasons.
As professional resume writers, we can assure you that writing a truly effective resume s no mean feat and one that is made even more difficult when the subject is yourself. We sincerely recommend that you retain a professional resume writer that has the experience, expertise, ability, and probably most importantly, the objectivity to scrutinize your career and effectively market you to employers. However, we would be fools to acknowledge that everyone will or can take this advice and also acknowledge that "resume wizards", templates, and special software are here to stay. Part of our mission is to educate job seekers on effective personal marketing strategies. With this in mind, we would like to offer all you do it yourselfers some help.
Top Ten Mistakes Made on Do‑It‑Yourself Resumes
Absolute loyal, die hard adherence to the myth that an effective resume is always limited to one page. This is one of the oldest, most out of date "rules" of resume writing and one that everyone finds hardest to give up. People argue this point because someone, somewhere, years ago told them that a resume that is longer than one page just will not get read. Absolutely Untrue.
Today's employers are interested in seeing your skills, accomplishments, and experience and sometimes, especially with job seekers who have more than three or four years of experience, that takes more than one page. We have seen so many resumes that are literally unreadable because too much information has been typeset onto an 8 ½" x 11" piece of paper. It makes the resume completely ineffective. It is fine to go to two pages if you have two page's worth of information; however, we recommend not going over two except in certain cases.
Use of the passive voice as evidenced by use of phrases such as "Responsible for...", "Duties included...", etc. This is not a grammar mistake but rather a writing mistake. We are all taught to write in the passive voice in high school English class. Most formal writing is in the passive voice and it is second nature to write in that fashion. In the 70's and 80's, the resume was still being used primarily as a document of work history rather than a marketing document and, therefore, the passive voice was used in writing resumes. With the competitive job market and changes in the employment industry in the 90's, it became necessary for the resume to really "sell" the individual. Resumes needed to be very powerfully worded; thus the advent of the use of the active voice.
Use of first person and possessive pronouns. The words "I", "me", "my", "mine", or "our" should never, ever appear in a resume.
Instead of making empty claims to demonstrate your work ethic, use brief, specific examples to demonstrate your skills. In other words, show, don't tell.
Bennett offers these examples: Instead of... "Experience working in fast-paced environment"
Try... "Registered 120+ third-shift emergency patients per night" Instead of... "Excellent written communication skills" Try... "Wrote jargon-free User Guide for 11,000 users" Instead of... "Team player with cross-functional awareness" Try... "Collaborated with clients, A/R and Sales to increase speed of receivables and prevent interruption of service to clients." Instead of... "Demonstrated success in analyzing client needs" Try... "Created and implemented comprehensive needs assessment mechanism to help forecast demand for services and staffing." It's good to be hard-working and ambitious, right? The hiring manager won't be convinced if you can't provide solid examples to back up your claims. Bennett suggests being extra-careful before putting these nice-sounding but empty words in your resume.
Errors. With the common use of spell‑checkers on word‑processing programs, people have gotten lazy on proofreading. Spell‑checkers are not the end‑all and should never be relied upon to proofread a resume.
Use of a template or "resume wizard". The popular word‑processing programs all have templates or wizards that do the layout of resumes automatically. There are several reasons NOT to use them including, but not limited to: cookie‑cutter appearance (your resume will look like every other person's that used that template), lack of flexibility for individual needs, out‑of‑date formats, and lack of flexibility in editing/layout changes. I have always found it more difficult to use a template than to just write/layout a resume from scratch since every person's backgrounds, skills, and goals are different and should be handled uniquely. Lack of information. People actually forget to put vital information on their resume such as telephone numbers and education!
Use of the wrong format for the job seeker's individual situation. Did you know there are three separate formats of resumes? There are chronological, functional, and combination formats. Each one is suited for certain employment histories or employment goals. Most people use a chronological, the most traditional format, but possibly one of the other formats would better suit their needs. Most people who write their own resumes don't realize that the other formats exist and don't know which one to choose for their individual situation.
Lack of focus. The resume should be written with a goal in mind whether it is industry‑ or position‑specific. A resume without a focus is just a work history. Irrelevant information. Do not include any information that will not in some way directly contribute to getting an interview.
Concentration on job duties rather than on accomplishments/achievements. Employers are concerned about one thing‑‑how an employee can contribute to their bottom line. A powerfully written resume conveys how a candidate can be an asset to the company's profits and productivity.
Bennett suggest not to use these words in your resume`
Aggressive Ambitious Competent Creative Detail-oriented Determined Efficient Experienced Flexible Goal-oriented Hard-working Independent Innovative Knowledgeable Logical Motivated Meticulous People person Professional Reliable Resourceful Self-motivated Successful Team player Well-organized