I’ve reviewed more than 100,000 resumes in my career. Many resumes end up in the virtual trashcan due to committing one or more of these 9 resume sins:
- No objective: I have no idea what you want to do. Maybe you don’t either. But I’m not your career counselor. Without a clear and concise objective of what type of job, what type of industry and/or what geography, your resume simply wasn’t targeted enough for me and went into the virtual trashcan.
- Generic objective: almost as bad as having no objective at all is the generic objective that says nothing about your or your true objective. “An opportunity with a leading company that takes advantage of my background, skills and abilities.” Um, sure. That tells me nothing, so into the trashcan.
- Unreadable: the format made it difficult or even impossible for me to quickly understand who you are and what you offer. Most resumes get a very quick 2-3 second screen by a Sourcer or Recruiter before they are given a full 30 second scan. Then on to the hiring manager. If the key information doesn’t pop up front, into the trashcan it goes.
- Too verb-oriented: you read a resume book telling you to use action verbs in your resume. That’s fine but, if they’re not matched with keyword nouns, you’re never going to be found. The resume world is full of people who have “Initiated solutions which enabled key performance indicator opportunities.” I search for keywords, not verbs. Into the trashcan.
- Too long: one page max for entry level or one job only, two pages max for all others. If it’s longer, it doesn’t mean I will take more time. It means that I will take the same amount of time spread out across more pages, more information. This isn’t an interview, it’s a resume review. Too long increases the odds that key information will be missed. Into the trashcan.
- Confidential contact: forcing me to contact you confidentially is one step more than I’m willing to take. If you fear your employer finding your resume, don’t post publicly, send only targeted resumes. Into the trashcan.
- Stupid stuff: Hobbies, interests, sports, personal affiliations, religious, political, the list goes on and on. I really do not want to know personal details about your life which do not apply to your qualifications as a candidate. Leave that stupid stuff out. Into the trashcan.
- Vague dates: when you list only years and not months, or, worse yet, no dates at all, it means you are hiding something. This method is usually used by those who have large gaps in employment and they are trying to hide them. I’m not stupid and I will assume the worst. Into the trashcan.
- No results: if your resume is a recitation of your job responsibilities, yet no actual results, it tells me that you were warming a seat and not delivering. I want to hire someone who has accomplished real results and can list real deliverables. Into the trashcan.
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