It’s time. You’ve made the decision to move forward with your career. You blow the dust off your resume and begin updating it for the next job search. But is it as professional and current (by today’s resume-writing best practices) as it needs to be? Before submitting your resume, inspect it well. Once you hit “send”, there’s no turning back.
Your resume is your professional presentation to a hiring manager or a company; make sure that you present your best self. Ensure that you’ve checked spelling, grammar and most importantly, make sure you haven’t made the following common resume mistakes.
Your Name is Too Big! We hate to break it to you, but your name is not the most important thing on the page. This is probably the #1 most common mistake people make; they seem to think it will help them be remembered if their name is huge. What will make you memorable to an employer is if you can capture their attention with a powerful branding statement, letting them know what separates you from the pack, and what you will bring to the company or organization. If they like what they see,then they’ll go back to discover your name.
What’s your objective? Your objective is to get hired. Describing what you want will not get you there. Employers care about how your skills, strengths, and experience can help their organization. So instead of an objective, develop a strong branding phrase or statement that describes what you will bring to the party. Then highlight some of your key successes and strengths in bullet points, all in the top one-third of the page. This is the most valuable real estate on your entire resume, so make sure it’s the most hard-working.
The Overdone Resume – Is your resume filled with wall-to-wall text, varying fonts, graphics, and colors? If so, you have an overdone resume that will most certainly end up in the garbage. Resumes that are too busy and too dense distract the hiring manager from their main focus: your attributes, goals and achievements. Besides, attention spans have shrunk dramatically. If you know a hiring manager, recruiter, or professional resume writer, ask them to review your resume and provide honest advice.
It’s Not About You – It may sound strange, but your resume is not about you, it’s about the value you can provide to the company where you want to be employed. Before you start your resume, research the organization where you’d like to work. Investigate the company and several of their competitors; understand the business and their challenges. This will help the hiring manager see how your talents and achievements align with their business objectives. Don’t make them guess!
Success Starts at the Top – While composing your resume, try to think as a hiring manager with twenty jobs to fill and department managers beating down the door seeking help. Most hiring managers don’t have time to read every resume that crosses their desk. Instead they skim the information, starting at the top. Make sure that your most important information is there. And remember to customize your resume for each position you pursue.