In a previous article we talked about mistakes that could land your resume in the trash before it’s even considered.
While the following mistakes may not result in an instant “No” they certainly won’t help if the hiring manager keeps reading.
The sole purpose of your resume is to get you to an interview. If yours hasn’t been opening doors, it might be time to give it a rewrite. You owe it to yourself to take the time to make your resume as effective as possible.
Here are 7 questions to help test for common mistakes. If you can answer YES to all of them you have done well. If not, you have some work to do.
Your resume should be written in the “implied first person” narrative. Simply put, this means dropping the “I” or “my” from the first person point of view. It is a style used almost exclusively for resume writing. Avoid using the first or third person.
Here is an example:
First person: I updated the company website
Third person: Joe Smith updated the company website
Implied first person: Updated the company website
Review your resume to ensure consistency throughout. (It is extremely distracting for the reader if you switch back and forth…and you do not want them distracted right?)
Accomplishments tell your story. Anyone can list a task but the resulting accomplishment is unique to you. Consider these:
Negotiated with key suppliers
Negotiated with key suppliers resulting in a 10% reduction in expenses
Not every task can be measured in quantitative results but it is still possible to represent these as accomplishments. Notice how they tell more of a story than simply listing a duty:
Think of it as engaging the reader. They could review 100 resumes with the same list of tasks. Yours will stand out if you tell them more.
Longer isn’t better. There is no reason a resume should be longer than two pages. One page is perfectly acceptable particularly if you are early in your career. Don’t try to fill space for the sake of it. Be concise.
You have around 10 – 20 seconds for the initial scan so make sure the critical points are up front. The shorter your resume, the greater the chance the hiring manager will see what you want them to. (If you need to shorten it up, see next point.)
Ideal are two to five points to outline any one of your positions. (Three usually works best.) Employers are not likely to read beyond five. If you have to list more than three, make sure the first three are the most important.
Look for ways to consolidate accomplishments or responsibilities into one bullet. E.g. Answered telephone inquiries, greeted visitors, answered customer emails could be grouped into Customer service.
Your tasks/accomplishments for any given position should be ordered in relevance to the job for which you are applying. Example: Don’t list answering customer calls and emails before negotiating supplier contracts if the role you are now applying for specifically calls for experience with supplier negotiations. Get it up front so it isn’t missed.
Change the order of your bullets for each new submission as necessary, always listing the most relevant points first.
Sounds like a no-brainer right? You’d be surprised how many times the contact information is available only on the first page or only on the cover letter. What if the pages have been printed and are separated? What if the hiring manager decides to call you when they are reading page two? Make it easy. (If submitting your resume by email, make sure you contact info is in the email as well.)
It is important to have your resume reviewed by others who will catch errors or inconsistencies that you may miss. Try to have a professional with hiring experience have a look.
Is your resume ready to get you in the door?
Post by Margaret Johnston, eventswork.com
As a career event professional, Margaret brings valuable insight and knowledge to the recruitment, management and development of high-performance teams for the event industry. A strategic and inspiring leader, Margaret has held executive roles for several global event management companies and key roles in the start up and orchestration of many high profile and international events.
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