Kisses of Death for a Resume
1) Missing Contact Information
You’d be surprised how many people leave off
their phone number on a job resume, or ignore
the opportunity to include an email address in
the heading. And on that latter point, make sure
your email address is stable, long term, and
professional sounding. Skip the one you use with
your friends, PartyGirl@loadsofun.com, and opt
instead for something that won’t raise eyebrows.
2) Too Long
If your job resume is over two pages, you’d
better be a world-class CEO with instant name
recognition. Then again, if you meet that
description, you can get by with a single page,
can’t you? Regardless of your real or imagined
worth to a company, limit your job resume to two
pages max, one page ideally. With regards to all
the valuable ‘stuff’ you’re leaving off the job
resume, be happy you’ll have something to talk
about during the interview.
3) Over The Top Design
Ignore your impulse to write a white-text job
resume on black paper, or include a
scratch-and-sniff perfume spot on the page.
Limit your font selection to one or two. Use the
traditional and popular New Times Roman if you
prefer lettering with a serif, or consider
Arial, Helvetica or Verdana if you want a clean,
more modern san serif font. Go easy on the bold
and the underlining. And limit your paper
selection to white or beige with a weight of 22
or 24 lb. Black type.
4) Misspellings; Poor Grammar
Nothing signals inattention to detail like a
misspelled word on a resume. The job resume, the
one document on which you intend to present
yourself to your ideal company, and you’ve
misspelled achievemints. Well, you won’t be
adding to your list of achievemints with that
5) A Photo on a Job Resume
Never, never, never include a photo on your job
resume–unless you’re applying for a job in
Germany, or as a fashion model. U.S. companies
outside of the modeling industry will trash your
resume immediately to avoid any future
accusations that they might have discriminated
in a hiring decision.
6) Personal Information Not Relevant To The
You may be the Friday Night Dart Champion at
Willie’s Bar, but leave it off the job resume.
Likewise don’t mention your marital status,
number of children if any, social security
number, height and weight, hobbies, and
sports–unless you’re an avid golfer applying to
7) Missing Dates, Missing Employment
The hiring official doesn’t like to be left
guessing how you acquired your superhuman
talents, or where you acquired them, or when. If
he is left guessing, you’ll be left guessing why
you never get a response.
8) Hard To Read
Long, dense paragraphs are tough slogging. Make
use of bulleted points. Don’t crowd your
information. Weed out extraneous details and
know what employers are looking for–which leads
to the next point.
9) A Focus On Job Descriptions vs.
It’s implied that a job in outside sales
involves calling on customers and following
leads. Don’t waste space and readers’ patience
spelling that out in minute detail. Rather, get
on with the actual accomplishments from the job.
Increased territory sales 20% the first year.
Initiated order bundling system saving $40K
annually in transportation costs. You get the
10) One Too Many Weasel Words
Weasel words are adjectives or action verbs that
sound impressive as you’re typing them
(extraordinary communication skills, vitally
participated in conference XYZ, demonstrated
ability to extricate donut from bag with minimal
disturbance to icing) but to the trained eye
(i.e., the eye of the hiring official) they are
indicative of a desperate fellow scrapping the
bottom of the barrel for anything positive to
say about his time spent at Acme Wingnuts.