Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Resume Not Getting Results? Here Are A Few Common Mistakes

Resume tips for experienced professionals and new grads

By Jaime A. Heidel

These days, the job market is incredibly competitive. Former managers with decades of experience are having just as much trouble being offered positions as recent college graduates. If your phone isn’t ringing maybe it’s time to revamp your resume.

Here are a few resume tips to help you stand out from the crowd whether you’re a seasoned professional trying to address being “overqualified” or a new grad just starting out.

Avoid These Common Resume Errors

You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect resume. You’ve formatted it, spell-checked it and even had a few friends give you tips on polishing it to perfection. It looks great! It lists all jobs you’ve had in the past ten years including supervisor names, contact information and duties.

So why isn’t your phone ringing off the hook with interview requests? You’re making one of the most common resume errors: Listing duties instead of accomplishments!

Kelly Donovan, Certified Resume Writer explains it this way:

“The most common problems I see are focusing on job duties instead of specific accomplishments, leaving out important keywords and making the resume too broad instead of targeting it.

A resume should highlight detailed examples of professional achievements, like improving efficiency 25 percent by streamlining a particular process. Most job seekers hesitate to identify specific accomplishments, usually out of modesty, and as a result, their resumes all sound the same as other applicants who have similar qualifications.”

So there you have it. Get specific and your resume will stand out on a desk (or email inbox) of hundreds!

Five Things to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Tailor It
Though it may be tempting in an exhaustive job search to type out one professionally-crafted resume and send it out to all prospective employers, it is very important to tailor your resume by making slight adjustments based on the position you’re applying for.

Focus on Your Accomplishments
As mentioned above, the most common mistake employers see on resumes is a focus on job duties, instead of specific accomplishments. Citing real numbers is a great way to impress a prospective employer and make your resume stand out. Now is not the time to be modest. If you saved the company $3,000 last quarter, mention it. If you devised a new way to improve customer service, let it be known on your resume. Even if you only managed a team of three, showcase these leadership skills.

Short and Concise
Don’t go back more than ten years on a resume. Most HR personnel have only five minutes at best to look skim your resume looking for relevant skills before moving on to the next. If they have to weed through more than one or two pages, they’ll set it down and move on. Be sure to note relevant skills and accomplishments in no more than a few short, easy-to-read sentences.

Good Format
You may think pink resume paper and a fancy font is the best way to capture the attention of a prospective employer. It’s not. Instead, use traditional white or cream-colored resume paper and familiar, easy-to-read font such as Arial or Times New Roman. Double-space between jobs and bold job titles to make skimming easier. If you’re sending your resume in an email, these same rules apply.

Proper Spelling and Grammar
Hitting spell-check is not always the way to ensure your resume is error-free. There are certain words and sentences that won’t be picked by editing software. That’s why it’s important to look it over carefully before submitting or you may end up boasting to the hiring manager that you’re a “1-year-old Marketing Executive” or a “Rabid Typist”. To read more funny examples of resume mistakes, click here. (Just be sure your resume never ends up among them.)

No comments: