Cortney Izia January 12, 2021 Resume
First Page Format- When it comes to writing a resume, the first page is ground zero. Before a reviewer even begins to read through the details of your resume, they will be making both conscious and unconscious assessments of the layout of the document. If competition is tough and you are competing with many well presented and written resume’s, a flawed front page can often equate to rejection. The first page of a resume should always present well. This can be tricky because you need to capture as much noteworthy information as possible, whilst keeping the layout neat and easy to read. You can achieve this by adhering to the brevity rule above, and also being ruthless with what to include/exclude. Too many resume first pages contain information that is either superfluous or could be included later in the document. In terms of layout, there should be consistent use of headers, paragraphs, bullet points and white space to clearly delineate between sections of the document and key points highlighted. Along with use of appropriate font and size, the document should not only be easy to read, but should be easy for a reviewer to identify key information.
Unrelated personal interests and hobbies: Several years ago, when writing my first resume, I remember being directed to add my hobbies and interests at the bottom of the resume. These hobbies and interests were supposed to show that I was a well-rounded, interesting person. However, this is no longer the norm. In fact, just as adding an ”Objective” to your resume is outdated, so is adding your personal interests. Recruiters just want the facts of your experience relating to the position. Again, you are wasting a Recruiters valuable time by adding these little tidbits of personal information. In fact, by adding this additional information incorrectly, you take the risk of your resume ending up in a circular file (the one next to the recruiter’s desk that contains the remnants of their lunch!). I have had the unfortunate opportunity to review resumes of candidates who listed their personal interests as ”Jazz Hand Aficionado”, ”Exotic Pole Dancer”, and ”Cat Whisperer”. Really?? What does that have to do with a Sales Manager position? As you can imagine, these prospective candidates were not selected for interview.
Focus on Your Target – My reasons for saying this are as follows: An unfocused resume sends a very clear message that you are unfocused about your career. And a hiring authority doesn’t want to see that. They want to see that you have career goals and that those aspirations correspond with their needs as an employer. So keep in mind that a customized resume, modified for a specific position, is always preferable to a generalized and vague resume. If you’re serious enough about a job then you should take the extra time and effort to tailor a resume to that job’s requirements. I assure you your efforts will not go unnoticed. Be Articulate and Grammatically Exact – In my humble opinion, it’s of the utmost importance to be eloquent within the context of your resume and to make sure you’re using proper grammar and syntax. For your current job description, use the present tense. For past jobs, use past tense. This seems like a no-brainer, but again you’d be surprised at how many people make this mistake. Being articulate can go a long way as well. Most hiring managers will consider it a plus if you can convey your level of intelligence in your written communications. So don’t be afraid to break out the thesaurus and make sure you have someone else edit your resume before you send it out to potential employers. That’s imperative!
Everyone Needs a ”Resume Coach”. Can you imagine any competition, serious endeavor, an Olympic athlete or top performer in any field where a coach, consultant or mentor is not employed to achieve excellent results? That is why sports coaches, fitness coaches, executive coaches, sales coaches, life coaches and experts are sought. They provide the strategy, tactics and best practices to quickly and easily achieve results. Yet on many career blogs you will see that, usually to save a few dollars, people often insist on doing their own resumes and their own interview prep without using any type of career coaching. While this do-it-yourself approach may result in finding jobs, in today’s competitive world it usually means a longer job search or a suboptimal result. The questions to ask in a buyers’ market are: ”How can I get a competitive edge?” and ”How do I win this resume game?”
While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of ’do’s’ and ’don’ts’, the items discussed below capture key factors responsible for early resume rejection. Brevity – A concise resume is a good resume, and will earn early brownie points from the reviewer, while an overly long resume will have the opposite effect. If a reviewer has to go actively looking for key information, you will have already received your first black mark. If you can comfortably capture information in a single page, then do so. Even if you are highly experienced, try to keep the number of pages to a minimum. Recruiters are time sensitive and will penalise unnecessarily long resumes accordingly.
If you have ever been on a fishing expedition, you know the most successful fishermen use the best, most appropriate bait available. They also have the most lines (and hooks) in the water. A job search is much like a fishing expedition. Your resume represents the bait, and each company that you send your resume to represents a line with a hook that allows you to snag a job. Think of your ideal job as that big fish, the one you can’t wait to brag about to your friends, the one that didn’t get away, and your claim to fame! Just as it is important for a fisherman to use the right bait to attract that big fish, it is imperative that job seekers use the right resume to attract that big job opportunity. During my career as a Corporate Recruiter, I have had the opportunity to review thousands of resumes. Some of those resumes have been stellar; the resume is formatted professionally, well written, and portrays the candidates in their best light. On the other hand, I have also had the unfortunate opportunity to review some of the worst resumes ever written! In fact, some of those resumes were so bad that they have received honorary status on my list of the seven worst things I have ever seen on a resume. These prospective candidates committed what I call the ”Seven Deadly Sins of Resume Writing”:
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