Are you currently looking for a job? Are you enjoying writing your resume? I know I know it’s a horrifying and daunting experience nevertheless it’s something you need to do to enter the fascinating world of work.
Writing a resume isn’t difficult unless you have high expectations of yourself. I mean, anyone can write one in just ten minutes and still be satisfied with the result even though the document is full of serious spelling and grammar mistakes and includes a bunch of lies. Whereas someone who is serious about getting hired would gladly spend an hour or two creating the perfect resume, an error-free, well-formatted and targeted summary of skills and achievements.
Employers know that too well. Years of experience of reviewing resumes has equipped them with the ability to know how much time a candidate has spent on writing one, and as such choose to either ignore or take their application into consideration.
But is it really possible to go terribly wrong when writing your resume? The answer is yes. I mean you won’t believe the tremendous amount of badly written resumes that are out there and only employers know how painful it is to look at them. So if you are careless when you are crafting your resume, then you are doomed.
See Also: 10 Hottest Keywords for Your CV in 2015
For your own good, you better not send out your resume before you familiarise yourself with what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
The Worst Resume
A poor resume shouts ‘You shouldn’t hire me’. Instead of providing reasons for employers to do so, it destroys your chances while giving them something to talk about. True, the purpose of a resume is to impress employers but you don’t want to do it the wrong way.
Here are the most important elements of epic resume fails:
- Untailored resume
The biggest mistake that you can make while writing your resume is to do with customization. Obviously when applying for a marketing job you won’t refer to your excellent cooking skills or your talent in singing. Instead, you might want to try your luck in a culinary or music career. This resume doesn’t reflect reality and shows that you haven’t really understood what the role involves.
- Outdated resume
There’s no need to refer to the SAT exam that you took at the age of sixteen or talk about the fact that you worked at the family restaurant ten years ago. Employers are interested in what you have to offer now e.g. the skills that you can directly apply to your job if you were given the job tomorrow. Including outdated information on your resume, can backfire as it means you are wasting valuable space on the paper when you could have referred to more convincing on-the-job examples.
- One-page resume
To be honest one page resumes aren’t the worst; they can be used by entry-level job seekers, though in combination with other epic resume fails on this article, a single-paged resume won’t get you in the door. Also, you wouldn’t expect people with a highly active managerial background to fit all of their accomplishments on a single page right? Resume trends show that two-paged resumes have become quite common.
- Boring statements
These are a major turn-off for employers. Using clichés such as ‘I am a hard-working, self-motivated individual’ won’t make you as unique as you want. Not only does this show them that you lack originality and authenticity, but it bundles you with the rest of the uncreative jobseekers. The problem with these is that they are generic and overused and as such fail to differentiate you from other candidates.
The real issue here is that jobseekers are using these terms in an attempt to describe themselves which in itself is catastrophic. If the idea of creating a resume is to help you stand out, this is a crucial mistake especially at the very early stages of your job search. In fact, your choice of words that describe you can make a big difference in getting a job. A recent survey from Careerbuilder, identified ‘best of breed’ (38%) as the most common phrase jobseekers use on their resumes followed by ‘go-getter’ (27%) and ‘think outside of the box’ (26%). So you better avoid these as much as possible.
- Spelling mistakes
Employers don’t appreciate sloppiness or laziness and aren’t easy to forgive. This means that they won’t overlook inappropriate use of language. The fact that you misspelled a few words can be as deadly as bad-mouthing a previous employer. Grammar and spelling mistakes aren’t acceptable. If you don’t pay attention to your own resume, employers won’t trust you to work on any of their office documents.
The Best Resume
The secret is in the small details. If you want to be seen as sloppy and lazy, that’s just one way to go, but you shouldn’t expect the employers to call you back anytime soon. A powerful resume manages to catch the attention of employers instantly. Here’s how a good resume does exactly that:
- Shows-off Creativity
In an attempt to demonstrate their creativity, most jobseekers think that they should embellish their resumes with colourful fonts and designs, but that’s not the case. While I do agree that it would make a great impression, filling it with colours isn’t the best course of action. Even people over at Business Insider agree that this is what the worst resume looks like:
What I mean with creativity here is inventiveness, not in the way your resume is presented but in the way you present yourself. What employers are looking for is evidence of your problem solving and initiative and how differently you can do things. A resume that gives out these two qualities through real-life examples is more powerful than any resume that exhibits a beautiful design.
- Uses Buzzwords
If you haven’t yet discovered the power of keywords, you are definitely missing out. Just as any other SEO tool, keywords can help you make your resume more relevant to the job you are applying for as well as be found for the right opportunities. Also, it makes it easier for employers to figure out what you have to offer within the just six seconds of scanning the document.
- Tells Stories
More and more candidates have started using the narrative approach to resume writing. As Glassdoor points out this technique is the secret weapon to impressing employers. Instead of plainly stating job duties and achievements through bullet points, storytelling through small catchy phrases should help you make your resume more interesting and engaging.
An excellent example of a great resume is the one Amanda Augustine from The Ladders created to give you an idea of what yours should look like:
See Also: 10 Extraordinary Creative CV Examples
Taking some time to learn more about the important aspects of a powerful resume will help you impress employers and increase your chances to getting the job of your dreams. If you are the professional you claim to be, don’t waste space on your resume giving out the reasons on why they shouldn’t hire you; give them reasons on why they should.
So, how does your resume compare to these two examples?