AVOID COMMON RESUME MISTAKES
Resumes are important advertisements for interviews. However, few people are resume savvy - their resumes are often “dead upon arrival,” because of numerous writing, production, and distribution mistakes.
You should avoid these writing errors:
- Resume is unrelated to the position in question.
- Too long or too short.
- Unattractive - poorly designed, small type style, crowded copy.
- Misspellings, poor grammar, wordiness, and repetition.
- Punctuation errors.
- Lengthy phrases, long sentences, and awkward paragraphs.
- Slick, amateurish, or “gimmicky” - appears over-produced.
- Boastful, egocentric, and aggressive.
- Dishonest, untrustworthy, or suspicious information.
- Missing critical categories - experience, skills, and education.
- Difficult to interpret because of poor organization and lack of focus.
- Unexplained time gaps between jobs.
- Too many jobs - job hopper with no career advancement.
- No evidence of past accomplishments or a pattern of performance from which to predict future performance; primarily focuses on formal duties and responsibilities that came with previous jobs.
- Lacks credibility and content - includes “canned” resume language.
- States a strange, unclear, or vague objective.
- Appears over-qualified or under-qualified for the position.
- Includes personal information that does not enhance the resume.
- Lacks critical contact information (telephone number and email address) and uses an anonymous address (P.O. Box number).
- Uses jargon and abbreviations unfamiliar to the reader.
- Embellishes name with formal titles, middle names, and nicknames, which make him or her appear odd or strange.
- Repeatedly refers to “I” and appears self-centered.
- Includes self-serving references that raise credibility questions.
- Includes red flag information such as being incarcerated or fired.
- Sloppy, with handwritten corrections and/or stains or smudges.
Employers also report encountering several of these production, distribution, and follow-up errors:
- Poorly typed and reproduced - hard to read.
- Produced on odd-sized paper.
- Printed on poor quality paper or on extremely thin or thick paper.
- Soiled with stains, fingerprints, or ink marks.
- Sent to the wrong person or department.
- Mailed, faxed, or emailed to “To Whom It May Concern.”
- Emailed as an attachment which could have a virus if opened.
- Enclosed in a tiny envelope that requires the resume to be unfolded and flattened several times.
- Arrived without proper postage - the employer gets to pay the extra!
- Sent the resume by the slowest postage rate possible.
- Envelope double-sealed with tape and nearly indestructible!
- Back of envelope includes a handwritten note stating that something is missing - a telephone number, email, or new mailing address.
- Resume taped to the inside of the envelope, an old European habit practiced by paranoid letter writers.
- Accompanied by inappropriate enclosures - self-serving letters or recommendations, transcripts, or work samples.
- Arrived too late for consideration.
- Came without a cover letter.
- Cover letter merely repeated what was on the resume.
- Sent the same resume to the same person several times.
- Follow-up call made too soon - before the resume and letter arrived!
- Follow-up call was too aggressive - candidate appeared needy.
Your resume, instead, should incorporate the characteristics of strong and effective resumes. It should:
- Clearly communicate your purpose and competencies in relation to employers’ needs.
- Be concise and easy to read.
- Outline a pattern of success highlighted with accomplishments.
- Motivate the reader to read it in-depth.
- Tell employers that you are a responsible and purposeful individual - a doer who can solve their problems.
SOURCE: Adapted from Ron Krannich, Ph.D., The Re-Entry Employment and Life Skills Pocket Guide (Manassas Park: Impact Publications), pages 27-28. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Copying strictly forbidden.