The 2 Most Common Pitfalls to Avoid While Crafting your Resume
Contributing Writer: Erica Concors
I have been working as a resume writer and consultant for Let’s Eat, Grandma for about 4 months now; in such a short period of time, I have learned so much about reviewing and writing resumes.
This blog is going to expose the two most common mistakes I have seen for far. The following tips will help you immensely while crafting your resume:
The first thing I notice when I look at a resume is its formatting. Can I find the most important information without having to work too hard? Does the resume catch my eye and draw me in for more? Can I see a story on the resume, or an organizational structure of some sort? These are just the initial questions anyone who gets their hands on your resume will ask, and when this big moment comes we all want the answers to be yes, yes, and yes!
Remember, your resume is a marketing tool and is often the first impression you have on hiring managers. You want to create a snapshot of who you are as a professional with highlights about your successes, experiences, and why you deserve to make it in the door.
With this being said, my advice is to make the viewing experience easy and even enjoyable for someone who has most likely seen hundreds or even thousands of resumes in their career.
Although it may seem fastidious, formatting is important on every level. From your header to the little details, such as dates, cities, bullet point sizes, font characteristics, and so many more. I also care a lot about details such as past versus present tense, so be sure that you’re using the correct one based on which experience you are discussing. These are the types of details that show you are paying attention to your writing and perfecting these speak volumes about your character.
In just an instant, you can either impress someone or turn them off completely. Being meticulous and consistent in your resume formatting shows your attention to detail, and this character trait is among many others that will most definitely set you apart from your competitors. To recruiters, hiring managers, and even executives, someone who takes the time to produce quality work through perfectly formatting their resume is someone who will put that same level of thought and effort into their job. So remember, even the smallest details can go a long way in landing an interview!
VAGUE, OVER-PROMISING CONTENT
A second thing that I notice on many resumes that I encounter is that they are “fluffed” with overly promising adjectives and character traits with no tangible evidence to back them. Remember, this is a chance to shine on paper, with severely limited space.
Be sure to highlight your most important skills and then exemplify them with real, tangible experience that employers can relate to and remember.
You are much more memorable when you say you, “reduced automobile recalls by 6% in just 4 years through a case analysis about engine failure,” than if you just say, “I am a very motivated and successful automobile engine professional.” The first example gives me as a reader something to remember, something to be impressed by rather than brush off as a meaningless generalization that anyone can write on their resume.
I always love hearing and discussing success stories with clients, because I can hear when people lighten up with excitement and pride. Having strong bullet points on your resume is a great way to help spark that conversation and bring that pride and emotion into your interview.
On another note about content, wordiness and elaborateness is also something I frequently encounter. Although many people may want to impress recruiters and executives with fancy language and sentence structure, it can easily go from impressive — to unclear and confusing. Oftentimes, the point being made can get lost along the way while trying to over-write on your resume.
A trick that I use to avoid this is that I always start my bullet point sentences with a strong action verb.
In using such verbs, you will immediately give direction to your sentence and reduce your chances of straying from that direction. You most definitely can and should explore different vocabulary words, but situate them in very concise, clear and functional sentences. Your main goal with your bullet points is to show viewers what you have done, how you did it, what your goals were, and what the ending results were.
These key components are really what separate the vague, over-promising resumes from the ones that speak to your abilities without “trying too hard.” Remember that everything about your resume speaks to something about your character and strengths.
When a recruiter reads your resume and gets lost in a long run on sentence, they are also learning about your communication style, and they are learning that it may not be one of your strengths.
Overall, writing a powerful resume is crucial to your career search. Knowing what recruiters, hiring managers, and executives do not want to see is just as important as identifying what they do want to see. Being able to avoid these two common mistakes I have discussed will put you in a great position to land your dream job and your resume is just the beginning!
If you’d like to speak to a writing consultant today, schedule a complimentary resume review phone call by visiting calendly.com/career-scores/free-initial-phone-consultation.