I'm sitting in front of my computer trying to think of a new way to say the same things I've already said a million times. I think I'm beginning to feel border line preachy with my resume and cover letter advice. But I also feel a duty to share with job seekers the blunders and mistakes they make that prohibit them from getting the interview and ultimately the offer. After ten years of working as a human resources manager and recruiter - I've seen my fair share of job seeker mistakes. So here's my list of the five biggest mistakes job seekers make on their resume.
MISTAKE #1: Outdated formatting
The first impression your resume gives is critical. How do you want the hiring manager to perceive you? Professional and accomplished? Or sloppy and disorganized? Old and outdated formats only reflect poorly on you as a viable candidate for the position.
MISTAKE #2: Using an Objective
If your resume has an objective please stop. That is an outdated practice no longer relevant in today's job market. Objectives will only land you in the bland, just like everyone else pile not the oh yeah, don't let me forget to call them today pile.
MISTAKE #3: Forgetting important keywords
Don't forget to use industry specific keywords. Also make sure you know where to put them. The top section of the resume is the best place because that's where the hiring manager's eyes will be drawn. Short keywords are a great way to tell the employer about your expertise.
MISTAKE #4: Length and text density
Too long or too short and you've lost your hiring manager. Keep paragraphs to 3-5 sentences and the same goes for the number of bullets you use in your resume. Why? Any longer and you lose the audience in information overload...and shorter, you appear under qualified.
MISTAKE #5: Listing responsibilities instead of accomplishments
The hiring manager doesn't want your resume to be an exact repeat of the job ad. They already know what they need. What they need to know is how you're going to meet their needs. Utilize statements that demonstrate your expertise and accomplishments in a given area. Certainly there was a challenge you faced while working for your current or previous employers. How did you address these challenges and what were the results? The answers to these questions make for GREAT bullet points on a resume.
About the Author:
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class, resumes and cover letters that transform job searches into interviews and ultimately job offers.