Human Resources professionals have the Herculean task of sorting through hundreds of resumes within tight time constraints, which means that job applicants have a lot of competition and only one chance to stand out from the crowd. If you’re working through a recruiter, a recent study reveals that resumes receive approximately 6.25 seconds of assessment. If you have been applying for positions, but keep getting passed up for interviews, you may be making resume blunders that send your resume straight to the “no” pile. Here are some resume red flags to avoid:
Don’t objectify. Summarize. Objectives on a resume can be a double-edged sword. If tailored to the specific job at hand, it may be beneficial, but if the objective is only industry-specific or (worse yet) generic, it can be the nail in the coffin. The better bet is to summarize who you are based on your experience, allowing your past accomplishments to be bolstered by figures and percentages that prove your contributions produce results. This provides potential employers with a “story” that shows your worth right up front.
Don’t come across as
a card-puncher. Ever meet someone who was a zombie of workplace obligation,
punching in and punching out with an apathetic, despondent attitude? How
excited would you be to hire them? You wouldn’t. Employers are looking for
employees who want to contribute to their organization, not just show up to
keep a seat warm.
Such individuals often give themselves away on a resume, however, and HR pros recognize it right away. If someone gives bulleted points that use words like obligations, duties, and responsibilities, it’s obvious that initiative is not an applicant’s strength. Monster.com warns job seekers that this may be one of the biggest three mistakes you can make throughout your search. Make a deliberate point to explain how your actions produced a result (e.g. “Wrote award-winning articles for the bi-annual magazine, increasing annual fund giving by 78%.”). If you can’t talk about how you’ve helped your previous employer be successful, it will be assumed that you didn’t.
Don’t focus on accomplishments that aren’t relevant to the job. For the sake of brevity and professionalism, list jobs that are relevant to the position you want. If you’re applying for a clerkship at a law firm, you can skip the burger-slinging summer job you held in undergrad. Keep things short, sweet, and pertinent. Just starting out and your experience is a little lean? Don’t underestimate the power of internships and volunteer or research work. It shows drive, a determination to gain exposure to your industry, and a willingness to sacrifice material gain while you acquire knowledge. Include it.
- Category Career AdviceResume Advice