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10 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 company.

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 Job

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 Titleist.

7) Missing Dates, Missing Employment Information

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. Accomplishment

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 idea.

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.

 

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