As more and more companies choose to hire or promote from within, the opportunities left for job seekers is scarce. The competition is fierce, and when you’re forced to rely on your resume to get in the door – it better stand out from the crowd. Beware…there are several elements to your resume that may actually be putting HR and managers to sleep (or tossing your resume all together!).
1. It’s still sporting that outdated objective.
If your resume is utilizing an objective you really need to trash it and start over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give them the best information up front. The information they need to make a decision to call and interview you.
2. The design/format is generic or elementary for your professional level and experience.
There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive yet you are using an entry-level resume format you will look under-qualified.
3. It’s missing keywords.
No keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once over with their eye, is looking for specific keywords too. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process.
4. Generic and vague statements.
Stay away from the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resume. Yes, we know you can problem solve. Instead of telling me you’re a problem solver show me the result of a problem you solved.
5. Soft skills vs. hard skills
And the battle goes to…hard skills. I used to be a full time recruiter and I used monster and careerbuilder to search for candidates. Not once did I ever enter the search terms: great communicator, excellent verbal skills, detail-oriented. These are universal statements that millions use to describe themselves. Give me something tangible and relevant to the position I need to fill.
6. Duties and responsibilities
Instead of wasting valuable space on the resume giving me a rundown of your job description…the same one I’ve read a million times as a hiring manager with an opening that I need to fill – show me what you achieved, what you accomplished, what you contributed. Wow me with something outside of the mundane job description. I want to know the challenges you faced in your previous roles, how you addressed them and the results you obtained. This makes you different then everyone else. No two people will have the exact same experiences. Your experiences are what make you outshine your competition – USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
7. Are you passive or active?
Using terminology that is passive is boring and lacks action. Instead of using terms like served as, duties included, promoted to, worked with… choose strong action verbs. Action verbs do just what they say – they convey action and ultimately results. The hiring manager is interested in results you can tell them what you did along the way. Choose terms like: Launched, Catapulted, Spearheaded, Pioneered. These terms tell me something. They show me the action you took and captivate my attention so I read on to the results you achieved.
Your resume needs to do two things. It needs to capture the hiring manager’s attention and needs to motivate them to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. If you look and sound like everyone else you have no competitive advantage and therefore you’ve provided the HR person no motivation to pick up the phone, call you and schedule an interview. Stop creating a same old, same old resume that looks and feels just like everyone else. Start today by adding some variety and focusing on your accomplishments.
View professional resume samples or submit your resume via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free resume analysis.