4 mistakes

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The four deadly sins  


There are good resumes, and there are bad resumes.  Any recruiter or hiring manager who wades through stacks and stacks of resumes on a daily basis gets to know which is which pretty quickly.  In fact, they get to the point where all they have to do is glance at a resume for about 5 seconds to be able to tell which kind it is.  It is their job to be brutally decisive when culling through these mountains of paper to find the very few gems hidden in them.  What separates a good resume from a bad one is not nearly as subjective as one might think.  Sure, there are individualized preferences in formatting or font among hiring managers….but there are four ingredients common to bad resumes that they ALL agree upon, and those four ingredients are the following;

  1. Poor grammar and spelling- There is no excuse for a typo, bad grammar or a misspelled word on a resume. Not one.  Spell-check will catch the spelling accidents, but it won’t catch ‘wrong’ words. For example if you write ‘too’ instead of ‘two’, or ‘there’ instead of ‘they’re’.  When a recruiter catches a typo, or the use of the wrong word, they instantly put your resume in the ‘No’ pile because if you can’t get something as important as your resume correct, how are you going to do with customer correspondence?
  2. Job description, not accomplishment description- Do not waste space and time by outlining the responsibilities of your position. Describing what your duties were tells the reader nothing about how well you carried out those duties.  Instead, focus on quantifiable accomplishments by including improvements you achieved using percentages, goals you exceeded by using dollar figures, and staff you managed by using numbers of people rather than using the word ‘team’.
  3. Verbose paragraphs of description- If you are using prose to write your employment history, you’ve completely missed the mark.  Hiring managers will not wade through dense, dull full-sentences hoping to find meaty information that will help them determine your feasibility as a candidate. They will simply put you on the ‘No’ pile and move on.  Use bullet points instead of paragraphs to highlight your accomplishments in each position, not describe all the tasks you were responsible for in that position.
  4. Ambiguous educational information- There should be no need to guess about where you went to school, if you earned a degree, and what that degree was in.  If you simply put ‘ College of Marin- Sales Management ’, the hiring manager will simply assume that you took a couple classes in sales management, but are attempting to make it appear as though you have a degree, which in turn will be interpreted as deception by omission.  If you only have a couple classes, there’s nothing wrong with that, but be clear about it. Instead of the above, it would have been better to write, “ College of Marin ; 2003-present.  Earning credits towards an AA degree in Sales Management”.