Every day, about 300 different resumes come into my staffing firm. Unfortunately for many, it would be generous to say a mere 5% of incoming resumes are well-written, thus giving the applicant a significant chance at getting what the market considers to be a competitive job.
Here are 3 mistakes that the other 95% consistently make:
1. Abusing the adjective “Entrepreneurial”
The adjective “entrepreneurial” is just like “spiritual” as it has different meanings, some positive, some negative, some neutral to everyone.
However, both to myself and, from what I’ve experienced over the years, to a lot of small business employers, the word is a big negative.
Here’s what many of the small business entrepreneurs whom I’ve worked with think:
If someone is so entrepreneurial, what’s to say that they won’t go start their own business in a few months, thus leaving my company and me nowhere. Also, if this person is as entrepreneurial as they claim, I am going to possibly be hiring a future competitor?
When it comes to corporate, using entrepreneurial is neither here nor there, but if you use the word have an example as to why you are one of the very few who can back it up. A sentence that starts like this seems more average than you would know:
“An entrepreneurial sales professional…”
2. Stop Tweaking Your Resume – It’s Like Getting Plastic Surgery One Too Many Times
Market yourself how you want to market yourself and how you want other to see you. 99.99% of job seekers end up tweaking their resume to what they heard may be a good term during elevator chat or what their cousin claims got them their job.
With your resume, it is imperative that you feel comfortable with how you are represented and stick to that making tweaks infrequently. Changing too often is a psychological negative as there are too many drivers that have nothing to do with your resume that could be the reason as to why a particular employer did not get back to you.
Also, if you find yourself having to tweak your resume more than a few sentences max for every job you are applying to, you are applying to jobs that you are not qualified for.
Make a rule every time you change your resume:
Make the rule that if you change your resume because you heard that your friend got their job after they did x, you must wait two weeks prior to changing it again. This should make you think more and make unnecessary, unhelpful changes less.
3. Don’t make your objective more than 3 lines.
The reason why many online publications have short paragraphs is because web readers get very scared and off-put by the thought of reading long paragraphs. You will never see a chunk of text at the top of any NYTimes.com article because the reader would have the WSJ.com bookmarked the next day.
If you must write a book prior to having the resume reader see your experience (and sometimes it’s necessary), make it well written and form a new paragraph after every two sentences.
Also, always widen out your margins as the odds of the resume reader reading the 2nd page of your resume is very, very low. Though, don’t prompt this to make your resume 1page. Instead, the MS Word real-estate to your advantage.
After these three 3 are taken care of, I”ll gladly give more. However, by that time, hopefully you’ve followed these 3 enough to where you are employed by the “stretch job” that you thought would not even call you for a 1st interview.