Despite best intentions and a strong effort to keep an open mind, most managers draw drastic conclusions about your abilities, your workplace behaviors and your skills when they come across a glaring resume mistake. It may not seem fair, but this is just an unavoidable aspect of the job search process.
So don’t let your resume slip through the cracks. Watch out for these easily correctable common slip-ups.
Don’t say the same thing twice in a row…or multiple times throughout your document. Once you’ve stated a credential or skill, save the rest of the space on the page for additional skills or new information. You only have a certain amount of resume real estate, and you should take advantage of every inch of it to emphasize your diverse know-how and experience. Not to mention, nothing makes readers glaze over faster than an apparent fixation with one aspect of your profile. (“Okay, okay, you know HTML. We get it.”)
Adding modifiers like ‘successful’ to your claims can slow down your message, as in: “Completed a successful reorganization of the company invoicing structure.” Adding additional modifiers and adverbs to those modifiers can make things even worse: “Efficiently completed a highly successful reorganization of the company invoicing structure”. Instead, remove these dead-weight words. Better yet, remove every modifier and rather add a quantifiable element to your claim. As in: “Reorganized the company invoicing structure, resulting in the recovery of over $30,000.”
Standard or expected claims.
Calling yourself a ‘team player’ or a ‘detail-oriented pro’ won’t help you race past the competition. Every person who applies for this job will be able to make the same statement, so this kind of sentence will only cloud your message and obscure the details that really do make you special. Know the difference between a credential that applies to everyone in the world and a credential that separates you from the pack. Avoid the first and you’ll draw more attention to the second.
Jargon that’s not industry specific.
Leverage the kinds of insider terms and acronyms that set you apart as an experienced hand. Referencing software platforms, government agencies, well-known industry products and events, oversight groups, and famous names can help set you apart as a seasoned expert. But non-specific jargon can frame you as a smoke-thrower. Avoid terms you picked up from generic corporate seminars or pitches for non-industry-specific products and services. (For example: Synergy, Cross-Marketing, Strategize, Optimal, and Solution-Provider.)
A lack of research.
Spend time truly getting to the bottom of what the targeted employers are specifically looking for. Read job descriptions carefully and visit the company website to find out a) what your employers need in terms of skills and experience, b) the credentials they seem to be having trouble finding, and c) the qualifications that might be advantageous but aren’t deal-breakers. Align your message with the information you find.
Let’s face facts: employers don’t have time to carefully read 100 resumes, and you don’t have time to create a completely different resume for each job you pursue. It’s okay to use a template that varies only slightly from each job to the next, but don’t just click send without a single attempt at customization. This can make your application look like a spammy carpet-bombing campaign.
For more on how to keep your application streamlined, gripping, and memorable, rely on MyPerfectResume’s resume and cover letter creation tools.