Original post on www.careerwizardsinc.com/blog
Anymore, editing resumes is only a small portion of what I do. Instead, I teach students how to write a resume the right way in the first place. Over 80% of the resumes that I am asked to edit must be completely rewritten due to five common resume mistakes. Some of these mistakes used to be acceptable resume writing practices, but times have changed and if you want to be competitive in today’s job market, you must change with the times.
- 1. Passive Voice: Have you ever started a bullet point with “responsible for” “participated in” or “assisted with”? At one time or another, every job seeker has probably written a bullet point in a passive voice. What makes this a mistake is that passive does not sell, ACTION SELLS. Without action, you cannot have results. When you sit down to write your bullet points begin the sentence using action words such as developed, introduced, accelerated, built, designed, etc. Using action words makes your resume more hard-hitting and compels the reader to keep reading.
- 2. Quantifiable Results: I am amazed at the number of resumes that I see with bullet points that only state the tasks performed in a job with no mention of the accomplishments that followed. If your efforts resulted in increased revenue of 45%, make sure you include that valuable information in your resume. Your ability to communicate quantifiable accomplishments such as volume, percentages, and numbers will greatly differentiate you from the competition. Prove your value wherever possible. Failure to do so is a huge mistake.
- 3. Objective Statements: My advice to job seekers is to omit an objective statement and replace it with a statement of purpose or summary statement. Objective statements typically focus on what the job seeker wants and not on what the company needs. If well written, a statement of purpose or summary statement will promote the job seeker’s value, and as a result, what the job seeker wants.
- 4. Personal Information: You may want the employer to know more about you, but the resume is not the place for personal information. Honestly, this information should not be shared during the interview process at all. Marital status, number of children, or place of birth bear no weight on your marketability for the position and may eliminate you as a potential candidate.
- 5. Grammar: Let me start by saying that spelling and grammar mistakes are the most common reasons that hiring managers toss resumes into the trashcan. Rule number one to avoid these resume mistakes, never trust spell check. For example, lead is a word, but it is an error if meant it in the past tense form of the word, which is led. While spell check would not catch the error—a prospective employer will. Another error often overlooked on resumes is properly capitalizing words. One of the most common places that I find these errors is the resume heading. Yes, I said it, the heading. If you live on Smith St. be sure that you do not type Smith st.
Your resume is the story of your career experiences and achievements. Errors discount your value and minimize your ability to communicate the value you bring to a prospective employer. Your resume is the hiring manager’s first impression of you. Remember that old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression”.