Archives For Kill the Resume

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Countless articles appear on employment blogs around the world that tell candidates what they should put on their resume to get noticed.  Unfortunately, common mistakes can drive any hiring manager crazy.

Here are five pet peeves that hiring managers hate to see, and resume tips for job applicants:

1. Misspellings

While a lot of interviewers don’t thoroughly look over a resume during an interview, typos stand out as if they were capitalized and in bold-faced print. The resume is one of the ways candidates represent themselves and spelling mistakes show carelessness. Combined with the fact that 99% of word processing software has spell-check, it leaves a bad first impression.

2. Formatting problems

Contrary to many articles, resumes don’t have to be a beautifully formed work of art. We frequently see candidates who have over formatted their resumes and the result is a jumbled mess of tabs, tables, and font changes. For every resume that gets attention because it’s beautifully formatted, there is at least one that gets discarded for being a disaster.  It is better to have presentable, simple formatting than run the risk of cluttering your resume. (The one exception would be for graphic designers and positions where page setup is a major part of the job. Even in these cases, there is more than just the resume that seals the deal.)

3. Too much information

The purpose of a resume is to say why you’re a good fit for this company. Its purpose is not to say everything you’ve ever done and why those things make you more interesting than the last person. Candidates that include every detail of every job they’ve ever had can overwhelm. A more focused approach is best. More information doesn’t necessarily mean better information.

4. Personal input

The hiring company does want to know about you on a personal level, but that’s what the interview is for. The resume is a brief synopsis of your work history, touching on important points that are related to what you’re hoping to do for this company. The interview is where you get to fill in the blanks about what type of person you are and how that pertains to this job opening.

5. Length of Resume

This one is a little trickier, because not every job is the same. For certain positions, you may see a detailed work history which could span a few pages. For most jobs, a well structured, well formatted single page will do, any more than two is frequently too excessive and long to read.

There is no “across-the-board” code for what is the perfect style of resume for all situations, but there are universal things to avoid: don’t waste words or space, make it look presentable, and know how much information is too much.

As a hiring manager or business owner, what resume mistakes drive you crazy?

Listen to my 15-minute Blog Talk Radio segment on the 5 mistakes that cause hiring managers to crumple your resume into a ball and shoot it into the circular file, NCAA-style.

Why Your Resume Gets Tossed

Chuck Smith —  September 22, 2009 — 1 Comment

From today’s Yahoo! Jobs page comes the following ugly information: Why your resume gets tossed. Another article about long-suffering job applicants trying to cater to the ever-changing, ever-conflicting whims of resume readers.

With so many resumes from so many candidates overwhelming so few recruiters and hiring managers one has to ask:

Why do resumes exist?

Answer: Because Christopher Latham Sholes invented the typewriter. And why the QWERTY keyboard? To slow us down, of course.

The resume continues to slow down recruiting. Isn’t there a better way?