Your resume is typically your first introduction to a potential employer. It takes just a few minutes – if that - for recruiters and hiring managers to scan your resume and decide if you would be a good fit for the position and company. If you commit the top resume offenses, it may mean a longer time on the unemployment line, or more time in a job you don’t like. Your resume speaks volumes about you professionally and personally, so it is important to eliminate the following resume traps.
Avoid Verbosity When Creating Your Resume
Too many words, particularly if they serve no purpose, will definitely harm your chance of being called for an interview. Wordiness can cause the recruiters and hiring managers to think that you have difficulty articulating thoughts and ideas, which may mean that you’ll have trouble doing the same on the job. Clarity and conciseness are always a plus when creating resumes. Just as offensive as verbosity, using words whose meanings you don’t know, in an effort to sound intelligent, is a tell-tale sign that you may not be presenting the real you on paper. What’s more, if you are granted a meeting, the person interviewing you will know that you misrepresented yourself on the resume, and may be unwilling to hire you.
Get Over the 'I' Syndrome
Droning on and on about your accomplishments can make an applicant appear narcissistic and self-centered, attributes that employers try to avoid when hiring candidates. You may have lots of professional contributions, but share them sparingly. When citing positions and responsibilities, you only need to provide a brief synopsis of each job function, as well as three key responsibilities for each position. This will allow you to convey what you have done without boring the recruiters and hiring managers. Tiffany Parks-Branch, president of Parks-Branch Consulting in Marietta, Georgia, cautions against overly exaggerating job responsibilities on your resume.
Avoid Grammar Atrocities and Sloppiness
Paying attention to detail definitely works in your favor and reinforces your commitment to present yourself well on paper. Avoiding typographical errors, incomplete sentences, incorrect grammar and syntax usage makes you appear competent and articulate. It also shows that you pay attention to details. For example, if you submit a resume that is not printed on professional resume paper, or is damaged in any way - creases, errant marks, and food stains - you may risk not being called for an interview. What employer wouldn’t want to hire someone who can articulate well on paper and presents himself in a professional manner?
Keep Personal Information to a Minimum
The contact information listed on your resume can also say a lot about you. If you have a provocative email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, your professionalism may come under scrutiny. Parks-Branch states that hiring managers will be “concerned about (the candidate’s) judgment, or lack thereof.” She suggests using an email address with your name in it, and no other extraneous information. Parks-Branch also discourages using the company phone number as a way to contact you. Instead, she suggests using a cell phone or home phone number. Parks-Branch also says that including racial/ethnic and religious affiliations can possibly work against job candidates.
If you avoid these resume errors, recruiters will pay attention to your resume when it crosses the desk, and think of you as a potential asset to the company and interview you. Better still, they will hire you.