A resume is not a document you can just piece together and think someone will automatically hire you. Research, planning, effort, and an adequate amount of time must be put in to compose a presentable, and ATS compliant resume. Hiring managers take in between 6 and 10 seconds to review each resume that makes it pass the ATS (if they utilize an Applicant Tracking System), so you have a short time to grab their attention!  To assist you on your journey to write a great resume, here are 5 common mistakes to avoid when writing your resume.

1. Personalized email address vs. Professional email address

Having an email address on your resume is important. Having a professional email address on your resume is even more important. Why? It can be a deal breaker. Many of us at one time or another possessed a “personalized email address” such as youngflyandflashy@gmail.com, diamondstud@aol.com, or newyorksfinest@yahoo.com. Believe it or not, people list email addresses like these on their resume. Doing this would leave the hiring manager no choice but to imply that you are unprofessional, and that you couldn’t take 5 minutes to create a free professional email address. Stick with a professional email address, something like first.lastname@yahoo.com, and you can’t go wrong. This seems like something small, but it means a lot. 

2. Objective Statement vs. Professional Summary

Back in the good ol’ days a great majority of resumes had an objective statement at the top. Objective statements read something like this: “To obtain a position where I can utilize my skills and grow with a great company”.  An objective is what we consider “old school”. It does not tell the hiring manager anything they don’t already know. Therefore, it is no longer effective and should be taken off of your resume immediately. Having a professional summary on your resume instead of an objective statement is a better choice. When strategically written, the professional summary can be what grabs the attention of the hiring manager and prompt him/her to continue reading your resume. Since many hiring managers look at the top of the resume first, you need to make sure your professional summary is on point. Review the example of a professional summary below:

“Computer Support Technician possessing over 10 years of experience with increasing system performance and reliability, computer upgrades, PC configurations, operating systems, databases, switches, problem analysis and resolution, and supporting service staff. Verifiable history of fostering positive community relations among team members and presenting information in a comprehensive way.”

As you can see above, the professional summary shows the hiring manager your expertise and quantifiable impact via your years of experience. When writing your professional summary and other parts of your resume, be certain to show quantifiable examples in the appropriate places. This demonstrates impact and will help your resume to stand out. Also, please avoid clichés and buzzwords! Please click on the links below to rid your resume of buzzwords and clichés:

Buzzword Detector: https://app.readable.com/text/buzzwords/

Cliché Detector: http://www.clichefinder.net/

3. Recycling job duties vs. Using alternative descriptions

Many times in our career we tend to land roles with similar job duties as a previous role. When attempting to explain these things on a resume, some just recycle the job duties they’ve already written for that similar role. See an example below:

Position #1 –

Computer Support Technician (2008 to Present)

Diagnose and evaluate computer hardware & software problems for 20 computers and 5 servers to ensure optimal system performance. Develop, maintain and update training materials that provide solutions to common problems. Close 1,000+ electronic work request tickets weekly as required. Provide technical expertise to 7 departments on developing technical standards, cyber security, network protocol, LAN/WLAN networks, and increasing network security. Fill in for management staff in the event of an absence or backlog of work.

Position #2 –

Computer Repair Technician (2003 to 2007)

Diagnosed and evaluated computer hardware & software problems for 25 computers and 2 servers to ensure optimal system performance. Closed 450 + electronic work request tickets weekly as required. Provided technical expertise to 4 departments on developing technical standards, cyber security, network protocol, LAN/WLAN networks, and increasing network security. Filled in for management staff in the event of an absence or backlog of work.

This shows huge lack of effort and should be avoided at all times! Instead, think of creative ways to reword your job duties, even if they are the same in your mind. For example, instead of saying “Closed 450 + electronic work request tickets weekly as required” you can say “Processed 450+ ticket requests over the phone weekly”. See the difference that makes?

4. 5-page resumes vs. a 1-page resume

Candidates tend to have a desire to show the hiring manager everything they’ve ever done by submitting a long resume. By doing this, it is believed the chances of an interview would be greater. This is an incorrect notion! If you believe this I beg you to have a change of heart. Many hiring managers are not eager to read a long resume. If they have to read through 100 resumes that made it through the ATS and everyone submitted a long resume, they would be there forever! The standard is to have a 1-page resume (2 pages if absolutely necessary) unless you are writing a federal resume. A 3, 4, and 5 page resume would not be necessary as you don’t need to tell the story of your whole career.

Somebody may be thinking, “How in the world can I get my resume down to 1-page”? It’s possible!

First, you need to eliminate everything on your resume that is not relevant to the position you are applying for. Second, you only want to list work experience from the last 10-15 years. Third, you would need to utilize your knowledge of formatting features in word processing programs. There are many more tips to get your resume to 1-page, but these tips should put you on the right path.

5. Keyword Stuffing vs. Strategic SEO Practices

When it comes to the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), it is important to have keywords from the job description strategically weaved throughout your resume to get pass the ATS. If you don’t do this, your resume will not make it anywhere. Some people believe in stuffing the resume with too many keywords to get the resume through. This would include a method where a text box is inserted into the document, the job description is copied and pasted into this text box, the text is colored white, and the text size is changed to the smallest font possible to hide it from human eye sight.

Keyword stuffing won’t work in your favor! ATS systems are advancing and can detect different methods of keyword stuffing. When the system detects this behavior, it rejects the resume. Is taking a chance really worth wasting the hours it can take writing a resume? NO! There are several online resources that can assist you with strategic SEO practices for resumes. Utilizing these resources will help you to know where to place keywords and how often you should use them.

This list is not an all-inclusive list of do’s and don’ts for resumes. However, if you take these tips into consideration, you will be on track to writing a great resume. Writing a resume too much for you? Contact us at www.jobready2dey.com or utilize another professional organization of your choice.