What NOT to do on your resume!

Resumes – along with professional references and the actual interview – are one of the most critical elements in the hiring process and usually act as the ‘foot in the door’, so to speak. With the employment market being extremely competitive, it is absolutely vital to get that resume right. A well-prepared resume can be the difference between landing the interview and getting a “thanks but no thanks” reply in the mail.

In the past, we have published a number of helpful articles about what to do to make your resume shine, but there are a few things that should be avoided, when sitting down to compile your resume. So without further ado, here are some tips on what NOT to do when preparing your resume:

  • Do not submit a ‘one size fits all’ resume – Hiring managers are looking for you to actually address the job criteria within your resume. This may require some tweaking of your information to ensure that you make your skills qualities and experience match the job requirements. Research suggests that many hiring managers pay little attention to the cover letter, but almost all notice when the resume is not tailored to meet the specific requirements of the job. The message here is to spend a little time ensuring that your resume stands out as being suitable for the specific job that you are applying for.
  • Do not use buzzwords in your resume – Some words – like expert, synergistic and innovative, to name but a few – raise red flags with recruitment managers and can suggest disingenuousness. It’s ok to add a few eye-catching words, but be careful to ensure that your resume truly reflects your personality and skills. Use words that accurately reflect your abilities.
  • Do not submit your resume with typo errors and misspellings – Nothing can create a bad impression more quickly than a sloppy resume. If you cannot take the time to proofread and check your resume prior to submitting it with your application, you really are telling the recruitment manager that you don’t care about the job. If you don’t care, why should they?
  • Do not submit a poorly formatted resume – A confusing layout, gaudy colours and fonts or mismatched spacing might mean your resume ends up in the bin before it’s even read. If it doesn’t look simple, neat and tidy to you, start again.
  • Do not fall for the trap of relying upon the same old references you had two or three years ago – Make sure that your references are up to date, professional and will reflect your abilities to do the job that you are applying for. Research shows that many recruitment managers place a greater emphasis upon references than the resume itself, so ensure they are applicable to the job you’re applying for.

To give yourself the best chance of gaining an interview, you really need to ensure that your resume will stand out to the employer that you are sending it to. One thing that many applicants overlook is to craft their resume to suit the age of the hirer. It is not something that is considered in the job application process, but it is a fact that different generations value different aspects of the resume. Baby boomers, for example, place greater emphasis upon proven results and references, while Millennials place a greater value upon a candidate’s level of education. A little research about the hiring company and its recruiting team may assist you to create a resume that appeals to the hirer’s preferences. Good luck!

The CFS Team
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