1. MULTIPLE PHONE NUMBERS AND EMAIL ADDRESSES
Employers are very busy and will not call you or email you at multiple places. You should put the BEST phone number and email address to reach you. They may only have 3 interview slots and may make an appointment with the first 3 candidates that they speak with. When you are job hunting, you should check your voice messages and email on a regular basis so that you can respond to the employer in a timely manner. Slothfulness in this area may very well cost you an interview. By the way, the email address and voicemail greeting should be professional because it is part of your first impression. You may need to create a separate email address just for interacting with employers.
Objective: Seeking a position in a growing company where I may utilize my skills and have an opportunity for advancement.
Objective: To work in a professional, challenging environment that allows me to best utilize strong negotiation and communication skills with opportunities for career advancement.
Either of these sound familiar? I can guarantee you employers have seen it a thousand times. Employers already know that’s your goal. Objectives are old school and not necessary anymore so don’t waste space on your resume with this. Start right away with your Key Skills/Core Competencies. Use keywords directly related to the job description.
3. PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY PARAGRAPH
Professional Summary: Results-oriented and versatile professional with proven success in managing complex projects, growing revenue, and resolving both interpersonal and operational issues. Keen understanding of sales and marketing concepts and applications. Adept in building collaborative relationships with professionals from diverse backgrounds and at all organizational levels.
Professional Summary: An accomplished multi-tasked professional with an expertise in communications, interpersonal and organizational skills, solution focused, and result oriented with a history of exceeding objectives. A decade of successful experience in, customer service, mortgage and real estate support with organized strengths in account maintenance, review document control and record management functions.
That was A LOT to read, right? Well, think about how employers feel. After about the 12th resume it all starts to blend in. They don’t want to read essays and long paragraphs and they certainly don’t want to “dig” through to figure out if you have what they are looking for. Make it easy for them and list your skills in bullets and short phrases. You have 10 seconds to get their attention…..that’s how much time determines if your resume goes in the “look at again” pile or “do not look at again” pile.
4. OVER– USED WORDS / PHRASES
Motivated, Team Player, Great Written Communication Skills, Multi-tasking, Interpersonal Skills, Organizational Skills, Results-oriented, Customer Service, Detail-oriented, Excellent Time Management Skills, Typing – 55 wpm, Flexible, People Person, Hard Worker, Reliable, Dependable, Dynamic
If you use any of these words, your resume will sound just like everyone else’s. Your resume is your time to shine. You should think about what makes you unique. What is your brand? What are your areas of expertise? Consider who will be reading your resume and use buzzwords for your industry.
Now, if the job description itself mentions these words, then by all means, put them on your resume when applying to THAT particular job. However, in general, leave these words off because they are not helping you and are doing more harm than good.
5. “RESPONSIBLE FOR” and “DUTIES INCLUDE”
Again, these are overused. You should be listing accomplishments for each job not simply what your daily duties are or what you are responsible for. You are trying to impress the employer. They want to know what you accomplished at your current/previous job that you can do for them. So, when listing your accomplishments, start with an action verb:
Initiated, Led, Managed, Supervised, Trained, Increased, Decreased, Organized, Implemented, Facilitated, Coached, Authored, Negotiated, Drafted, Coordinated, Recommended, Liaised, Communicated, Executed, Designed, Identified, Improved, Presented, Resolved, Recruited, Promoted
6. WORK EXPERIENCE THAT’S MORE THAN 10 YEARS AGO
Your resume is a snapshot of who you are so you shouldn’t try to list everything on there. Employers want to know what you have done recently and know that you have kept up with the latest trends and technology. Saying that you got “Employee of the Year” in 1998 only makes them think that you have not done anything else noteworthy recently, because if so you would have listed it on your resume. Don’t “get married” to your resume. In other words, don’t get into a long-term commitment with the things that are listed on there right now. Actually, your resume is a work in progress until you retire. (Sorry…but somebody had to tell you!) You should constantly update it with the most recent accomplishments/skills/education and delete the things that are not so relevant anymore.
Think about your career over the last 10 years. What are your MOST IMPORTANT accomplishments? That’s what you should list on the resume. However, there are a few exceptions. If you are applying for an Executive level position – Director of Operations or Vice President of Finance, they may be interested in more than 10 years just to see your total background. Also, if you are going into education, you will probably use a Curriculm Vitae (CV) instead of a resume and this may cover more than 10 years. In either of these situations still don’t get too carried away – accomplishments only!
7. COMPANY WEBSITE AND DESCRIPTION
The resume is about YOU – not the company so don’t give attention to these things. If an employer wants a description of the company, they can Google it. I only suggest putting websites if it is a link to YOUR work. If you did a website design or were the presenter at a conference, then list it or put the hyperlink on there. Also, you don’t need the company address, supervisor’s name, supervisor’s phone number, number of hours you worked, or part-time/full-time status. All of these things belong on a job application.
8. DATE YOU GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE IF MORE THAN 10 YEARS AGO
This will only age you because employers know that most people graduate from college at age 21 – 23, so they will just add up the years to figure out how old you are. If they can figure out that you are 48, it may work against you if they are looking for someone younger who they can pay a lesser salary. Plus, don’t date your education. Technology and trends change so fast that whatever you learned 10+ years ago they are probably not doing now anyway…..or definitely not the same way when you learned it.
9. HOBBIES / PERSONAL INTERESTS
Bowling, Hunting, Ballroom Dancing, Jogging, Reading, Traveling, etc. do not belong on a resume. You can put them on your LinkedIn profile, personal portfolio, or discuss it over lunch when you get the job. If you like doing community service as a hobby or personal interest, you should list it in a section entitled “Community Involvement” or “Professional Affiliations” so it gets the recognition it deserves.
10. THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO DO AGAIN
Your resume should always look FORWARD to the job you are trying to get and not just simply list things you have done in the past. You are letting an employer know your experience and expertise by what you put on your resume. Don’t take up space talking about things you don’t want to do again. Putting it on your resume may cause them to ask you about it in an interview. If you don’t mention it, hopefully you won’t have to do it on the next job.
11. REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
This is also old school. Just go ahead and list your 3 professional references in a separate document.
12. TIMES NEW ROMAN FONT
Everyone uses this on their resume since it is the default font when you open Microsoft Word. Change it to something else that is legible and still professional looking to make your resume stand out.
Dena Bilbrew has given career advice to over 3000 people nationwide. Her career has spanned 20 years and has included 3 different industries – information technology, retail management, and career services. Her keen ability to connect with the people she advises is due to the several changes in her own career. With each career change she realized the importance of transferable skills and the value of “reinventing” yourself. Dena’s passion for helping others led her to launch DB Professional Concepts (www.dbprofessionalconcepts.com), which is designed to assist jobseekers nationwide with the tools needed to be successful in their careers. She wants to empower others to take their future into their own hands and have the career they desire. You can email Dena Bilbrew directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to get assistance with resume restructuring, cover letter development, interview preparation, job search strategies, LinkedIn profiles, personalized coaching sessions, etc.