When I try something and get it wrong, while I appreciate the error being pointed out – what I really need is straight forward guidance to help fix it!
When it comes to a job search the stakes are high – and your resume is unarguably one of THE most important marketing tools (along with a solid LinkedIn profile) at your disposal to make a career change.
Certain mishaps are a one-way ticket to a resume that never gets properly read.
Hopefully, like minds will appreciate this list that includes four common resume blunders I often come across in my work as a professional resume writer – along with tangible instructions on making a fix.
#1 RESUME IS OUT OF DATE
There are telltale signs that signal to a reader you are not current with resume reading and writing trends. The danger lies in the risk you may be perceived as out of date on job-critical trends as well.
THE FIX: Show you’re up to speed by:
1) replacing an objective statement with a short branding paragraph that tells the reader how you are ideally suited for a role
2) removing “references available upon request”
3) including just your cell and not both home and cell
4) including your LinkedIn URL in the contact info along with your email.
#2 RESUME IS TOO LONG
There’s a lot out there about the ideal resume length. I’ve been in the business for years – so here’s my two cents:
Three pages? Too long for many. You can’t afford to have it in front of readers with short attention spans who may toss it based solely on length.
One page? Great, but hard to accomplish unless you’re new to the workforce or have been in the same role your whole career.
Two pages? Ideal.
THE FIX: Get your resume to two pages by widening your margins to no more than .5 inches all around, selecting a small sans serif font (Calibri or Ariel) and set your point size to 10 or 11.
These tweaks are likely to cut your resume down by a ¼ to ½ a page.
#3 RESUME BURIES THE LEAD
Don’t bury your achievements below your list of responsibilities. Readers in a rush who rarely read the resume from end-to-end on the first pass may never get to it!
THE FIX: Refer to your performance reports or ask yourself what you are proudest of. Lead off with the response together with some context so the reader is immediately wowed.
#4 RESUME HAS TOO MUCH TEXT TO SKIM READ:
Big chunks of text, and by that I mean paragraphs or bullets greater than three lines in length, are easy to read in print but tough to read online – especially when the reader is skim reading.
In my experience, when something is hard to read and someone is in a rush, they are likely to skip it altogether.
THE FIX: Eliminate extraneous wording and edit your sentences or bullets to the ideal one- to two-line length. Keep at least .5 point between your bullets to facilitate skim, online reading.
GET YOUR RESUME IN THE KEEP PILE
These simple actions will go a long way toward giving your resume the chance it deserves and get put in the “keep” pile for a deeper look.
Interested in learning more about getting your career documents ready for today’s readers?
Check out my Emergency Career Toolkit – a series of 8 short and sweet videos that guide you through creating top-notch materials to land you that interview.