Famous author and entrepreneur, Seth Godin, has said, “You are not your resume, you are your work.” While there is a great deal of truth in such a statement, it can also be said that one’s work can at least be transposed effectively through a resume. Arguably, it seems that many jobseekers do not do enough to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. However, an effective resume is surely one way to make a positive impact to a prospective employer. So, what exactly are the things that go into a resume, and what is best left out? One way to tackle the answer to such an important question is to dissect some of the more common mistakes people make when constructing a resume.
Listing tasks or job duties as opposed to explaining achievements is one glaring mistake when it comes to resumes. Not only are job duties alone boring to read, they also do not tell anything about what is unique or spectacular about the individual performing those duties. On the other hand, if one were to list awards or special honors that he or she won, then that would be a good indicator of what was accomplished. However, it would be wise to not just stop there. It is also important to give some sort of idea as to what was required to earn that award or special honor as those parameters differ from company to company and certainly from industry to industry.
Poor formatting of a resume can also spell doom for a jobseeker. Think about it this way – the one that is constructing his or her resume is only looking at their own resume of course however, a hiring manager will likely have several resumes to review for any given open position. So, a poorly formatted resume is one way to get dismissed early in the process. Why? Because a resume that is in disarray could be an indicator to the hiring manager that the individual that submitted the resume is also in disarray. Be sure to check spacing, fonts, font size, margins and all the other things that can be the difference in submitting a visually appealing resume to a prospective employer compared to having the resume promptly cast aside.
Even if a resume is formatted correctly however, if it is not tailored to the job in question, then it becomes quite easy for the resume to be overlooked. For instance, a salesperson applying for a sales position should have a good bit of numbers and rankings on their resume, as opposed to just accomplishments. It is best to incorporate rankings such as “#3 out of 250 Account Managers in the nation” or “#1 out of 12 Account Managers in the region of PA, OH, & WV” If one is applying for a service related position however, then obviously, such numbers and rankings will not factor in as much. It is still necessary however, to tailor the resume to show how previously held service positions would tie in well with the job that is being pursued.
Incorrect spelling and grammar can also be a big blow on a resume. As has already been mentioned, a resume is a direct reflection of the person that has constructed it. This means that if there is not time invested in making sure that spelling and grammar are correct, then that simply translates into a poor reflection of that individual. It is not enough for one to review his or her own resume, it is important to let someone else that is trusted review the resume as well since it is possible that a common grammatical error may be recurring that is undetected to the individual that composed the resume to begin with.
Being dishonest on a resume is something that happens far too often however, this is a mistake that should be avoided at all costs. Lying on a resume means that lying on a potential phone interview as well as lying in several in-person interviews will also likely follow suit. As we know, lies can easily and quickly turn into other lies and such inconsistencies are very much frowned upon. The truth of the matter is that sooner or later, fabrications of the truth or outright lies will become exposed and this is something no company wants to deal with as having employees that are not integrity driven would represent the company in a negative light potentially.
We know that in life, we only get one chance to make a great first impression. The importance of a resume as well as the content in it, cannot be stressed enough as many times, this is the very first piece of information that is tied to a candidate. This means that technically, our first impression comes through by way of how effective a resume is composed. Is it formatted in such a way that entices someone to want to go through and read everything in it? Has there been proofreading evident to eliminate spelling and grammatical errors? If one can effectively show specific achievements and contributions to illustrate how the companies they have worked for benefited from having that individual work for them, this will serve that individual very well in moving forward in the hiring process. Keep in mind that it is never worth it to be dishonest on a resume as it is just a matter of time before the truth comes to the surface. Invest time, effort and creativity in a resume to show employers that they have an applicant that is not just serious about merely getting a job, but is motivated to accomplish what is required to land what hopefully proves to be a long and rewarding career.