1.Too Focused on Job Duties
One of the most prevalent resume blunders is to turn a resume into a boring listing of job duties and responsibilities. Many people even use company job descriptions as guides to developing their resumes. To create a resume that is a cut above the rest, you should go beyond showing what was required of you and demonstrate how you made a difference at each company. Provide specific examples of how the company benefited from your performance. When developing your achievements, ask yourself the following questions:
- How did you perform the job better than others would have?
- What were the problems or challenges that you or the organization faced?
- What did you do to overcome the problems?
- What were the results of your efforts?
- How did the company benefit from your performance?
2. Objective Statement that Is Flowery or Too General
Many candidates lose their readers from the very beginning of the resume: The objective statement. The worst objective statements start with, “A challenging position that will enable me to contribute to organizational goals while offering an opportunity for growth and advancement.” This type of statement is overused and too general and therefore wastes valuable space. If you are on a career track, consider replacing the objective with a tagline, which is a statement of what you do or what your area of specialty is.
3. Too Short or Too Long
Too many people try to squeeze their experiences onto one page, because they’ve heard that a resume should never be longer than one page. When formatting the resume to fit on one page, many job seekers delete their impressive achievements. The reverse is also true. Take the candidate who rambles on and on for pages about irrelevant or redundant experiences; the reader will easily be bored. When writing your resume, ask yourself, “Will this statement help me land an interview?” Only include information that elicits the answer “yes”.
The rule about the appropriate length of a resume is that there is no rule. Factors that go into the decision regarding length include occupation, industry, years of experience, scope of accomplishments and education. The most important guideline is that every word in the resume should sell the candidate.
4. Use of Personal Pronouns and Articles
A resume is a form of business communication, so it should be concise and written in a telegraphic style. There should not be any mention of “I” or “me,” and only minimal use of articles. Here is an example:
I developed a new product that added $2 million in sales and increased the gross margin of the market segment by 12 percent.
Should be changed to:
Developed new product that added $2 million in sales and increased gross margin of market segment by 12 percent.
5. Listing Personal or Irrelevant Information
Many people include their interests, such as reading, hiking, snowboarding, etc. These should only be included if they relate to the job objective. For example, if a candidate is applying for a position as a ski instructor, he or she should list cross-country skiing as a hobby.
Personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, height and weight, should normally not be included on the resume. There are several exceptions, however, such as some entertainment professionals and job seekers outside of the United States.