7 Ways Your Resume is Just as Boring as Everyone Else’s

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The economy seems to be picking up a little, and more and more job seekers are coming to us and letting us know about internal opportunities within their organization that they would like to apply to. But even as more opportunities open up, the competition is as strong—or stronger than ever before. Here are seven ways your resume isn’t quite cutting it. So take it out, brush it off, and let’s kick it up a notch. It’s still sporting that outdated objective. If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview. The design/format is generic or elementary for your professional level and experience. There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive, yet you are using an entry level resume format, you will look unprofessional and under-qualified. It’s missing important keywords. Omit keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process. Generic and/or vague statements. Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you’re a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved. Soft skills vs. hard skills. And the championship goes to … hard skills. I used to be a full-time recruiter, and I used Monster and CareerBuilder to search for candidates. Not once did I ever enter the search terms: great communicator, excellent verbal skills, detail-oriented. These are universal statements that millions use to describe themselves. Give me something tangible and relevant to the position I am trying to fill. Duties and responsibilities Instead of wasting valuable real estate on your resume providing me with a rundown of your job description (the same one I’ve read a million times as a hiring manager), show me what you achieved, what you accomplished, and what you contributed in the past. WOW me with something other than the predictable, mundane job description. I want to know the challenges you faced in your previous roles, how you addressed them, and the results you obtained. This makes you different from everyone else. No two people will have the exact same experiences. Your experiences are what make you outshine your competition—USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Are you passive or active? Using terminology that is passive is boring and lacks action. Instead of using phrases like ‘served as’, ‘duties included’, ‘promoted to’, ‘worked with’ … choose strong action verbs. Action verbs do just what they say: they convey action and, ultimately, results. The hiring manager is interested in results you can provide about what you did along the way. Choose terms like: Launched, Catapulted, Spearheaded, and Pioneered. These terms tell me something. They show me the action you took and captivate my attention so that I want to read on to discover the results you achieved. Your resume needs to do two things: It needs to capture the hiring manager’s attention—and it needs to motivate him or her to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. If you look and sound like everyone else, you have no competitive advantage. And therefore, you’ve provided the HR person with zero motivation to pick up the phone, call you, and schedule an interview. Stop creating a ‘same old, same old’ resume that looks and feels just like everyone else’s. Start today by adding some variety and focusing on your accomplishments.

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  • M Taylor
    M Taylor
    Great article and I agree, an example of a resume would be great also.  HOWEVER . . . Patricia's comment on 08/10 describes a format that is very close to one for which I paid A LOT and seems to be what is concise and directed to the resume READER as I have been told by hiring managers.
  • Patricia
    I have recently revamped my resume along the lines of what this article outlines.  The result? I am receiving callbacks for interviews, whereas prior to the revamp my application was not acknowledged.  Here's the example you are looking for:Here's what replaced my objective:Well organised and efficient Project Coordinator with almost five years experience including Post Implementation Reviews, maintaining Project Schedules and Resource Plans, generating Status Reports and producing High Level Estimates. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to work as either part of a team or independently. Seeking the next career step to continue professional development whilst providing support and identifying opportunities that will enhance or improve current project objectives.Then I list Key Relevant Skills with my career examples:Project Management (keyword) - created project plans, etcBudget (keyword)- .......Post Implementation Review (keyword) - ........etc.Followed by:Systems - eg: MS Office, SAP, etcCareer HistoryEducationInterestsIf you aren't sure what keywaords to list, look at the job description.....do they list communcations skiils? database knowledge?  administration skills?  Use these as your keywords.Hope this helps.
  • Vickie Callahan
    Vickie Callahan
    I'm beginning to think that there is no outstanding resume out there. I worked with a career network resource company, I paid to have my resume re- written by a professional online resume writer, I sent my resume to two HR managers they basically said that I wasted my money and they wouldn't interview me, the resume was weak!
  • Evroy Marrett
    Evroy Marrett
    This particular article conveyed some insightful advice of what employers are looking for when seeking potential candidates--the action word examples that were provided are useful terms that illustrate a proactive characteristic of an individual's mindset as well as his/her active duties in prior experiences
  • Anna Saied
    Anna Saied
    Interesting but generic. What are the key words to use? How do I use active verbs for my past job experience? Please supply more detail.
  • Waqas Wyne
    Waqas Wyne
    This indeed a very informative article but it would have been much better if you can provide some sample resumes of different jobs for different people.
  • Marcia Neese
    Marcia Neese
    I agree that examples of resumes, pre and post your suggestions, would be extremely beneficial.
  • Sue
    Could you give some examples of "personal brand statements" for someone in the Administrative Assistant and medical office industries.
  • Stephanie Lightbourne
    Stephanie Lightbourne
    A good example would be nice.
  • Jessie Johnson
    Jessie Johnson
    I actualy found this article rather generic itself.  This is the only one that I have come accross were someone is suggesting to make such radical changes to their resume.  Every other proffessional resume worker out there says the same thing, be clear, consise, and use an objective.  You have to tell them what your wanting to do especialy if the company has multiple possitions open.  They wouldn't know if your looking to be the next customer service rep or the next janitor.  You need to show people examples of what your talking about.  You say do this and this but "this" is actualy very vague.  Anyone can write an article but with out proof to back up what they say then its just another resume article.
  • Dawn
    My comment is a little different in the fact that I have massive job gaps due to illness and outsourcing layoffs.  So because of this no one is giving me a chance. However I am thinking about doing a functional resume, but employers like you to list relevant experience. How do I stand up to that? I am entry level.
  • Ricardo Vargas
    Ricardo Vargas
    One good example is more explanatory than a thousand words talking about it.
  •  Ewuzie Adaobi
    Ewuzie Adaobi
    I be glad to get a resume written by your organisation which can serve as an example.
  • Kathleen Boyd
    Kathleen Boyd
    I enjoy knowing that what an interviewer wants to read is my tailored career summary, in a paragraph, not the old boring bulleted list.
  • Chris Knutson
    Chris Knutson
    I agree ....a sample format would help to start the ball rolling. Everywhere you look everybody has the perfect resume writer, but yet no one wants to show you what they have in mind....Is this different?
  • Mary Kelcy
    Mary Kelcy
    Need some examples.  Take the advice you are giving out and refrain from the same old, generic statements of advice.  Give concrete examples please!
  • Anestoria Shalkowski
    Anestoria Shalkowski
    This is truly a good article, but could you at least show us an example of some of the items to which you referred in your article.
  • Wanda
    I would like to see an example resume.  Then it will become vivid and I can fully understand where you are coming from.  
    Every time I ready such good items, I learn something.
  • Brenda Furr
    Brenda Furr
    It would be nice if you can show an example revised resume to reference to.
  • Norris Beckley
    Norris Beckley
    It would be nice if you would show samples of resume types and formats.
  • Jim Troche
    Jim Troche
    How do you reconcile including important keywords and not listing duties and responsibilities in a coherent, concise resume?
  • Melan Greathouse
    Melan Greathouse
    Absolutey fantastic! I needed this article 3 months ago when I began job hunting.  Very concise.
  • Michelle D. Frank
    Michelle D. Frank
    So absolutely correct!  I have been employed with many customer/client relationship jobs and so my resume gets a make-over about every 2 years.  Much of this information I have learned over time and wish I read this article a decade ago.  Currently, I have had 4 reply/inquires with 3 requesting additional info and 1 direct offer that appears too perfect of fit and this is from a blind resume and I have not worked in almost 8 years.  Follow these instructions EXACTLY!
  • John Kaye
    John Kaye
    Excellent article, with great advice.  Every time I read something like this, I learn something.  Good goin'!

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