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Is My Resume That Bad?

Is My Resume That Bad?

If your phone and/or email box seems short on job interviews these days, did you stop to think it just might be your resume that is holding you back?

Despite all the time (or lack thereof) you may have put into crafting the document, for some reason it just isn’t catching on with employers. In that event, you could find yourself on the outside looking in when it comes to nailing that job you wanted.

Even though many employers have more than enough to keep them busy on any given day of the week, you can rest assure that many of them do take the time to carefully read what you send them. As a result, one typo, one badly written sentence, even one factual error can lead to the round file for your prized document.

In the event you are getting ready to send your resume out on a job blitz in the coming days or weeks, keep these little tidbits in mind:

1. Typos – Nothing screams you are not a good candidate for the job more than having errors in your resume. You should not just fall back on spell check to catch any errors for you. It never hurts to have another set of eyes (family, friends etc.) give it the once-over. It is very easy to type in a bunch of dates, previous jobs, education etc. and come away with a typo or two. When that typo reaches the desk of the company you are interested in working for, it tells them in part that you do not review your work. That can be deadly, especially if you are in a position with them and errors are passed along to customers;

2. Accuracy – While many of us may be off a month or two on when exactly we worked for someone a decade ago or graduated from college, being way off is another major gaffe. Be as precise as possible with the dates you attended/graduate school, along with when you started and left an employer. Hopefully you have been updating your resume as you go along, not just doing it a decade later when you find yourself out of work and/or looking for another job while presently employed;

3. Structure – Does your resume look like a landmine hit it? Make sure the way your resume is laid out is both precise and reviewed. You don’t need to list that part-time job bagging groceries 10 years ago (unless of course you’re looking for a new job bagging groceries). Keep the most relevant experience front and center to the type of job you are currently looking for. Since many resumes are now emailed to prospective employers, make sure the layout is clean too. Nothing looks worse than when an employer gets a resume that is misaligned and scattered all over;

4. Skills – Last but not least, always remember to mention the skills with which you can bring to a company. Too many looking for jobs just list the company they worked for, how long they were there, and a brief description of what they did. Many of today’s employers want candidates who have specialized computer skills, including social media. Let the prospective employer know that you are proficient in this or that skill, allowing them to give you more consideration. Put aside a section on the resume specific to skills, therefore letting it stand out.

As a job seeker, what more would you like to know about putting together a winning resume?

About the Author: With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of career topics including Internet reputation management services.

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4 comments

  1. Cathy/Meaghan,

    Thanks for reading. You both brought up good questions/answers. It seems many recruiters have short attention spans (due to workload, other reasons), so keep it simple. As Meaghan noted, keep things relevant to the job you are applying for. If you have current skills (social media, blogging, SEO etc.) that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, by all means mention them. Unless you’re working in a factory, store, etc. more and more companies want people who know their way around a computer these days. One last small but important tip (ladies especially), do not post your resume online with your home address/phone number showing. I warned several women in the last year online about such a practice. It is taking a risk that you don’t want to take. Only give out such information when needed in a non-public setting.

  2. I would like to know if a “highlights” section is a good thing to include. Seems repetitious of what will come below and in that sense, a waste of space.

    Speaking of space, one page is better, yes?

    • Cathy,

      One page is not always better. The important thing is to keep your resume focused, concise and only include information relevant to the job you are applying. If you are very experienced then you may need two pages and provided you are including only relevant information this is fine.

      A highlights section or summary can be a great tool. I agree that you do not want to simply repeat content, this will not add any value and take up space. You want to use this section to get the recruiter’s attention and entice them to read on. It is an opportunity to include information about your career interests, specialised expertise, exceptional accomplishments or appropriate personal characteristics.

  3. This is really a great one to judge our self for skills, qualities, weaknesses and many other things. A person should know the weakness of them and change their weakness into strength to overcome.

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