Sometimes when I am reading resumes I feel like I should be a third grade English teacher rather than a recruiter. Why do I say this? I am simply amazed by the mistakes made on resumes. The misspellings, the run on sentences, the formatting, and the blatant lack of attention to detail are simply astounding. I need a red pen to mark up the resume. As I have said more than once, even in the age of social media and LinkedIn, resumes are essential in your job search.
Do you know the song by Tim McGraw called “I Like It, I Love It” where he says “I throwed out my shoulder”? Even if you aren’t a fan of country music, that song has been played on every radio station across America for the past decade. Every time I hear it, I feel like someone is running their fingernails across the chalkboard. It is “I threw”, not “I throwed”! Why, oh why, would he say such a thing?!! That is EXACTLY how I feel when I look at resumes that aren’t done well.
There are common errors that need to be eliminated. I want to share with you some of those common errors and hopefully you will NEVER make these mistakes. After all, a resume is a first impression and you may never get to an interview if your resume isn’t done correctly.
Here are 5 things you should NEVER say or do on a resume:
- Apply to a job that you have NEVER done without a Cover Letter or explanation. I am really struggling with this one. This is my #1 pet peeve. It is kind of like putting diesel in a car that only takes unleaded. Why? Okay, if you want to change careers, that is cool, but tell me why you want to make a change and how you are able to do the job. Simple enough?
- Never apply to a job without a LinkedIn URL. Why in this day and age would you not have a LinkedIn account? I just don’t get it. If you are in the job market, don’t you know I am going to check your social profile? Also, if you want to hear more about how I feel about this, read here.
- Never compromise your resume & career by trying to cram everything on one page. The one page rule in my mind is ridiculous. Who cares? If you have had an established career and want to highlight what you have done, then please, by all means make it longer. I think 2-3 page resumes are the norm today. With all of the technologies and skills that are required of candidates, you better make sure you list the right skills the company is looking for in a candidate. Do you think they care how long their job description is? No!
- I don’t need your physical address or home phone. Guys, this is not 1995. Everything is electronic, on social media, or on your mobile device. I need your e-mail, phone number, blog site, LinkedIn (I’ll say it again), Twitter account, or whatever relevant information you can give me so I can research you. I need to know what city you live in, but I don’t need to know your physical home address. I really don’t want your home number either. A cell is all I want and need. I don’t need your grandmother answering a phone call and taking down your phone number.
- Please tell me CLEARLY what you did at your job (in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER), what you accomplished, and what skills you have acquired. I don’t need all of your skills jumbled together with your company name and dates of employment at the bottom of your resume! What are you hiding? Look, if you have gaps in your employment tell me what you have been doing. Have you been consulting? Have you been going back to school? Just spell it out for me. I’ll likely pass on your resume if I can’t figure it out in 6 seconds, so make it simple!
Of course I am only scratching the surface here, but this is a good start. Next week I’ll give 5 more pointers. Please whatever you do, don’t “throwed” out your shoulder between now and then.