When writing a resume, imagine your reader as a critic with a short attention span. Hiring managers have to shrink their candidate lists as efficiently as possible, making them likely to hold minor resume mistakes against you and unlikely to hunt around for relevant work experience. If you aren't landing interviews, inspect your resume for common blunders that prevent you from making a connection with readers.
1. Typos and Grammatical Errors
A simple misspelling or poorly worded sentence can overshadow impressive work experience, damaging any chance of hooking the hiring manager. Never send out a newly finished resume. Give yourself time to absorb the impact of your statements, and read your resume out loud to catch errors and clunky phrasing. Ask other trusted professionals to proofread it, so they can spot mistakes you might overlook.
2. Empty, Robotic Language
Hiring managers have no reason to choose you over other applicants if your resume is filled with generic statements with no personality. Describing yourself as a creative, results-driven team player only tells recruiters that you're good at copying templates, which makes you appear lazy and not interested enough to tailor your resume for the job. Adopt a natural voice, and share brief examples of how your decisions or actions created valuable results for employers. Consider this example: "I spotted a senior manager's ordering error with a new supplier and stayed after hours to negotiate an installment payment plan, keeping quarterly expenses in budget."
3. Vague Objectives
A resume doesn't need an objective statement because the entire document should explain what you intend to do for your next employer. Many of your competitors perform the same jobs as you, so a static list of duties doesn't set you apart. Use your career summary and work experience to highlight how your expertise leads to efficient solutions. For example: "As a human resources director, I develop custom recruitment funnels to improve applicant pools and reduce hiring costs by working with department heads to design employee retention plans."
4. Lack of Career Progression
Don't expect hiring managers to automatically see the connections between your work experiences, especially if you have a diverse background. Employers view past success and self-guided development as predictors of future potential. Demonstrating the cohesive narrative behind your career choices makes it easy for recruiters to envision a return on investment from hiring you. Recruitment expert Liz Ryan also recommends incorporating your reasons for leaving past positions to convey your impact while reassuring hiring managers that you don't burn bridges.
5. No Frame of Reference
A hiring manager compares people who have similar work experience from a wide range environments. They don't know how well your skills and personality transfer to new responsibilities and settings, so choose stories that show how you developed a focused skill set from one position to the next. If space allows, include a concise description of each employer to offer a clear picture of how your skills complement the company objective.
Common resume mistakes are easier to eliminate from your applications if you focus on making direct contact with hiring managers instead of navigating job portals and applicant-tracking software. Present value-driven work experience in a friendly, enthusiastic voice that motivates recruiters to see the human behind the resume.
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