Food for thought: There is no magic formula or special combination of words that will guarantee your resume lands successfully, securing you an interview and ultimately paving the way toward your dream job. There are, however, some seemingly small yet deeply significant blunders that will get your resume thrown into the trashcan 99 percent of the time.
Those odds may seem pretty daunting, but the good news is this: These resume blunders, while alarmingly common, are also easily fixable. You just have to know what to watch out for.
Five of the biggest resume writing disasters include:
- Being way too wordy.
We’ve written before about the importance of having some good, strong resume keywords—but there’s a difference between strategic keywords and just having a bunch of words vomited on to the page.
Your resume should certainly speak to your value as an employee, but it’s important to be succinct in weaving this narrative. Don’t change your margins to allow for more words, and—with rare exceptions—don’t go over a couple of pages. Remember that to get hired, your resume needs to impress an actual HR manager—not just computer programs and robots—and very few managers have time to read a 5-page resume.
- Using words that don’t mean anything.
Since you need to be judicious in the words you use, make sure you don’t waste valuable space on words that really don’t mean anything or convey specific value—words like hard-working or driven or self-starter. Again, we’ve blogged about this before. Focus on more concrete competencies, achievements, and results—not on these generic words and workplace euphemisms.
- Not including a clear summary.
You may end up putting a lot of time and energy into your resume, but don’t be too disappointed to learn that, well, hiring managers may not read the full thing. They may glance at it for just a minute or two, which means you need something to catch their eye and tell your story in a nutshell—a good, strong executive summary at the top of the page.
- Not editing.
There is zero excuse for having typos and grammatical errors on your resume. Use Spell Check, have a friend proofread it for you, or just hire Grammar Chic to give your resume a once-over.
- Making it overly detailed.
Should you include a lot of technical details about a project you worked on 20 years ago? Maybe—but only if those details directly relate to your current career goals. Again, make good use of your limited resume real estate, and orient everything around your basic career narrative.
Of course, an easy way to avoid all of these pratfalls is to hire the Grammar Chic team to review and refine your resume; call us today at 803-831-7444, or visit us online at www.grammarchic.net.
Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.