Searching for a new job is never easy, especially in a down economy. As a result, there are more job seekers than there are jobs. The number one tool needed in order to launch an effective job search is the resume.
The resume is the job seeker’s sales tool to attract a potential employer. It should contain information about the job seeker that the employer is willing to “buy.” For most job seekers it will be the only chance they have to sell themselves to a potential employer.
With that being said, here are the top 10 DON’TS a job seeker should avoid on the resume.
No one will read it! A resume should be no more than 2 pages long. All of a job seeker’s “top” selling point should be on page one. We only focus on the last 10-15 years of work experience. Anything beyond that is most likely irrelevant to the opportunity one is applying for. If there is something relevant, get it on page one in the “summary section.”
Unless you are a recent graduate, there is no need to have a career objective. Instead, replace the objective with a “Summary of Qualifications.” Here, you can tell the potential employer who you are professionally, your years of experience, industry, areas of expertise, and technical skills.
Your marital status, number of children, physical fitness status, smoker or non-smoker, age, race, disability, years of sobriety (ok, that’s reaching but you get the picture) should NOT be on the
resume. Your personal information is irrelevant to your ability to do the job. In many cases, personal information be used by an employer to discriminate against you.
Unless you are applying for a position overseas, please leave your picture off your resume. While it is common to have a picture on the resume in countries outside of the US, it is not professional by US employer standards. A picture can make you appear unprofessional and could be used to discriminate against you.
5. Paragraphs instead of bullets
From a formatting perspective, using bullets instead of paragraphs makes your resume more visually appealing. Thus a Recruiter will be more likely to review your resume. Recruiters tend to spend less than 30 seconds reviewing a resume. Reading through paragraphs takes time that most recruiters don’t have.
6. Unprofessional email address
While they can put a “smile” on a Recruiters face, using an unprofessional email address is well….unprofessional. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org should not appear on your resume. Keep it simple with FirstName.LastName@gmail.com.
(Tip: It’s always best to have a separate email for job search.)
7. Typos, spelling and grammatical errors
There is nothing worse than reading a resume by a job seeker who says they are “detail oriented” and then you spot typos, grammatical and spelling errors throughout the resume. No one can catch every error that can be made. Make sure you have someone proofread your resume for errors.
(Tip: Read your resume from right to left so you don’t focus on the content.)
Your resume should contain career accomplishments that are related to the job you are applying for. Simply jotting down a list of tasks won’t make you stand out from the crowd. Keep your bullets accomplishment and results driven.
If you have any skills / credentials that can make you stand out from the crowd (e.g., speak multiple languages, have certain certifications related to your field / industry, are published, write a blog, won awards, etc.) it should be listed on your resume if it is relevant to the position which you applied.
10. Using the words responsible for or duties include
All of your bullets should begin with verbs. Verbs demonstrate your accomplishments (e.g., managed, directed, oversee, reduced, eliminated, increased, decreased, supervised, initiated, conducted, etc.) The words responsible for or duties include are stagnant and focuses on tasks.