The Top 10 Deadly Resume Sins

  1. Improperly formatted name and contact information. Corporate resume processing systems cannot process or "read" resumes with improperly formatted contact information. Without contact information your resume is pretty much DOA (dead on arrival). The use of these systems continues to grow exponentially, making proper formatting even more important for job seekers.
  2. A missing or poorly worded Career Summary section. This section is a chance to catch a hiring manager's eye, and has become an essential part of modern resumes.
  3. Lack of clarity and readability. Hiring managers don't read every resume they receive. Instead they spend about 3-5 seconds scanning a resume to determine whether it deserves to be read. This practice is being used more than ever with hiring managers receiving 300+ resumes per a position. If your resume isn't "scanable" then it won't get read.
  4. Using a common or over-used template. Many job seekers use resume templates they find on the Internet or through their word processor. The problem with this is monotony. There's a good chance you'll look like every other resume in the pile.
  5. Inflating skills and experience. It's one thing to market yourself, and another to stretch the truth beyond belief. Employers know humans aren't perfect, and they appreciate a resume that gives an honest portrayal of an applicant.
  6. Missing industry and profession-specific terminology. Many companies use sophisticated resume database systems that require keyword searches to find resumes. If the right keywords aren't on your resume, then hiring managers won't be able to find you in their database. This same issue often occurs with the popular resume databases on the Internet (e.g. Monster).
  7. Including clich├ęs. Including phrases like "duties as assigned" and "responsible for" makes you sound lazy and unimaginative. The hiring manager will think you didn't care enough to spell out your actual experiences.
  8. Too many or too few bullets. Bullets can help hiring managers rapidly scan and digest a resume. No one wants to read a block of text. However, it is also important not to overuse bullets otherwise they are less impactful. Remember, everything in moderation.
  9. Highlighting duties instead of achievements. Employers aren't very interested in hearing about your previous duties. They want to know what you've achieved and how you'll help them achieve their goals.
  10. Poor grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Proper grammar and sentence structure is becoming a lost art in our society. Everyday we're amazed at the common mistakes we see on the resumes of very accomplished professionals. These mistakes are often fatal as very few HR professionals select resumes containing errors.

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