The first thing about you that a recruiter or an HR manager will usually see is your resume. Is yours representing you well, or is it torpedoing your chances at getting an interview? Here are six mistakes that could be putting you in the round file before you have a chance to make your pitch for that great new gig.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but even those of us who write for a living need to have our copy reviewed by another set of eyes to make sure typos and grammatical errors aren’t overlooked. Surveys show that 76% of hiring managers will toss a resume that has even one typo.
#2: Non-professional email address
You might be a sucker for cute kittens, but using your “firstname.lastname@example.org” address on your professional resume is ill-advised. Register an address with your first name, or initial, and your last name on Gmail or Yahoo, and use that for your professional correspondence. Even better, spend a few dollars a month on a custom URL (yourname.com) and hosting for an online portfolio and resume with an email account that gives you a me@myURL.com email address.
#3: Too Much “Me”
You shouldn’t be shy about listing your accomplishments, but take the “me” out of the equation, at least in the text of your resume. Don’t use personal pronouns, use sentences anchored by action verbs. For example, don’t say “I oversaw a new product launch that generated $2 million in revenue in the first two quarters after launch,” say “oversaw new product launch … “ – your resume is about you, but pretend you’re someone else describing your accomplishments.
#4: Talk Achievements, Not Tasks
Speaking of achievements, don’t bury yours under a list of tasks and responsibilities. Focus less on titles and tasks, more on what you actually accomplished. For example, it’s much more powerful to say “guided sales team to 50% growth in 2nd quarter” than it is to just say “sales manager”. Look at your resume as your career highlights reel, and make those highlights pop.
#5: Got Skills?
We just talked about highlighting your achievements. Do not make the mistake of burying your skills, either. Put all your career-relevant skills up top on your resume. If you’re terrific at data analysis, if you’ve got serious experience in project management, put that front and center. Don’t make a recruiter or hiring manager read a whole page to get to your skill-set. They might not make it, which means you won’t get the interview.
#6: Passive-Aggressive? Stop the Insanity!
Maybe you don’t have a terrific recent work history – we’ve all had some College of Hard-Knocks career low-points if we’ve been in the workplace for more than a few years. Be honest, but don’t cast your former employers or supervisors as the bad guys in your career story. Saying “I only got fired because my supervisor was a paranoid jerk” makes your next employer think they could wind up playing Paranoid Jerk in the next episode of your career. Be mature, say that the situation didn’t work out in your favor, and that you look forward to using the lessons you learned in your next opportunity.
These are six of the top resume don’ts on the TECHEAD list. If you have some Greatest Hits of your own, please share them in the comments – we can all learn from each other’s mistakes, can’t we?