Piggybacking on the previous post, here are 4 more common (but easily rectified) résumé mistakes.
- Objective vs. Summary. Back in the day, conventional wisdom said to open your résumé with an Objective. If you, too, are old enough to use the phrase “back in the day,” you know what I’m talking about: “Seeking a challenging opportunity where I can apply my skills and contribute to a growing organization.” Vague. Boring. A waste of valuable space. Thankfully, best practices have evolved to better consider what hiring managers want to see first: a brief, at-a-glance summary of your job target and the value you offer. “Construction manager with 5 years of experience in leading commercial projects valued at more than $90M.” Follow this opening with a short description of your most relevant qualifications and skills and your reader is already seeing the connection between his company’s needs and you.
- Context and Scope. Don’t leave the reader guessing about how much responsibility you had at previous jobs. Be specific and quantify wherever possible. A store manager who writes “Managed retail store and supervised employees” gets a yawn. But “Managed a 7,000-sq. ft. retail operation specializing in family footwear with annual sales of $1.2M; trained and supervised 25 full- and part-time sales staff” well, now we’re painting a picture.
- Templates. I’m sure the people at Microsoft think they’re being helpful by offering those free résumé templates, but you are not a one-size-fits-all commodity. Don’t try to fit your career story into a pre-fabricated (and likely overused) template. Instead, start from scratch and use the blank page to your advantage.
- Page Design and Formatting. An eye-pleasing design is interesting, and it invites potential employers to linger longer over your document. This means ample white space, a font choice that is easily read by both human eyes and applicant tracking software, a font size that doesn’t require screen adjustment or a magnifying glass, and formatting elements such as bullets and bolding to bring attention where you want it.
If you’ve tried making these principles work for your résumé, but you’re stuck on the how-to, shoot me an email. I’d be happy to talk with you about your current strategy and offer suggestions. As a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, I have transformed hundreds of ho-hum documents into dynamic, keyword-infused, and attention-capturing résumés. You don’t need to—in fact, you shouldn’t—tackle this all-important project on your own.
To your success!
Linda Mulcahy, CPRW