Why do you think that having a great resume is the single most important part of your job search? The right answer: because if your resume does not excite and impress anyone, you will not be invited for an interview. And obviously, if you can't get the interview you will never get the job. Agree?
Resume purpose: To get you an interview
Whether we like it or not, the use of a resume is the standard operating procedure in business when it comes to introducing ourselves to a potential employer. That's the waythe world goes ‘round.
Mistake number 1:
Here’s the scary news. Your resume will at best get a quick 6 seconds glance, if that much. Keep it on two pages as no employer, HR department or recruiter, has the time to read page after page.
Mistake number 2:
I know that accountants feel more at home with Excel than Words and marketing people can’t control themselves when given the opportunity to paint themselves in a PowerPoint presentation. But please, to all of you, use a Word document. I repeat Word.
Mistake number 3:
Whatever work experience you have which is over 15 years ago, we don’t want to know. It’s a life time ago and what you learned in school or in your first job have no bearing on who you are today. I have worked well over 25 years and at the time we had no fax, no BlackBerry and iPhone, not even laptops.
Mistake number 4:
Clichés like dynamic, self-motivated, visionary, and similar generic traits say nothing about what you are capable of. They are useless and just take space from where you could add more examples of your achievements.
Mistake number 5:
The worst is when an HR professional, sorry I wanted to say HR person, presents a resume with the current job at the end of the list of jobs. I mean, if an HR - supposedly a specialist - has not yet learned that best resume writing practice is to have your current job at the top (page one) and then move backwards to page two, finishing with your first ever job, what should the rest of us do?
Mistake number 6:
If you have periods without work, do not be tempted to include such period in one of the jobs you have held. During reference checking with previous employers it will surface and kill you. It’s not only once in nine years as an executive search headhunter that I have seen top performers loose a job offer because they were stupid and thought that cheating was acceptable.
Mistake number 7:
No matter how beautiful or handsome you are, do not attach a photo in your resume. If you do, there is just one more reason for the reader of your resume to disqualify you. Likes and dislikes are strange animals and some just hate beautiful people.
Leave this practice to new graduates, Gen Y. Ignore the request in ads to attach a photo as it is all a trick to find a reason why you are not a fit.
Mistake number 8:
Do not make the mistake of copy/paste these often generic meaningless job profile statements. Instead, tell us what you did with the responsibility. Present your achievements or accomplishments. Try to be specific an indicate numbers, periods in a list of bullet points.
Mistake number 9:
How many times have you seen this line in a resume: “References available upon request”. Honestly, I take for granted that you will be able to provide references so my suggestion is to drop the line. Use it to say why you are special
Mistake number 10:
Finally, save your resume by calling it firstname_lastname_resume.doc. Mine is called tom_sorensen_resume.doc. Too many resumes have filenames like my_resume.doc or grant_thornton.doc (for resumes sent to Grant Thornton). Your resume ends up in a big big pool of resumes so having your name up front will identify it quickly and easy.