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Resume Do’s and Don’ts

Most times, your resume is an employer’s introduction to you. It may be the first and only opportunity that your potential employer has to assess your skills and get to know more about you.  A job order may yield hundreds of resumes to sort through and each one will only receive about 15 seconds of review before the reader decides whether to give it a deeper look or decline it.  Your resume must be impressive enough to convince your potential employer to call you in for an interview.  It is a marketing piece, pure and simple.  The product is you, so give yourself every advantage possible.  This article is to help you avoid some common mistakes and determine if your resume has what it takes to land you the interview you want.  Here are some do’s and don’ts that will make employers take more interest in your resume and give you a better shot at that interview.

Do’s

  • Make your resume user friendly and easy to read. Use clear and concise sentences. Avoid ambiguous statements that have no meaning.  Remember that if a sentence can’t be understood by someone outside of your industry, it may not make it past a novice recruiter.  Using industry lingo is fine and expected, but keep in mind that clarity and ease of understanding is pertinent.
  • Keep your resume short. Entry level workers should stick to 1 or 1 ½ pages, management is good at 2 to 2 ½ pages, and executives can get by with up to three pages – go longer than this and you are hurting yourself.  If you have more to share put it into supplemental documents that can be shared once you are in the interviewing process or include it in your online social profiles.
  • Focus on your most relevant skills and impressive accomplishments.  Ensure the values of your accomplishments or their outcomes to the company are quantifiable.  If you increased profits, state the amount.  If you improved some sort of process, indicate by what percentage the process improved. Always measure the performance.  Demonstrate the impact by inserting the numbers, a resume with nothing quantified is quickly declined.   An additional tip here is to keep track of these numbers consistently; don’t wait till you are updating your resume and hope to remember all those numbers.
  • Highlight only what’s relevant to your career goals. Focus your skills on the needs of your potential employer.  If there’s something early in your career that isn’t in line with your current career; just include the basics such as company, title, and dates, but leave out the details.
  • Have your resume professionally written or reviewed.  Your career advancement is important to all aspects of your life, if you don’t have a top notch resume, you’re making a comment to the Recruiter or Hiring Manager that you just don’t care.  Trust me when I say from a Recruiter’s perspective that it is easy to spot a professional resume versus someone who tried to write it themselves.

Don’ts

  • Don’t attach your photograph on your resume unless it is required or common in your industry.  The place for a photo is your LinkedIn or other social networking site.  Let your skills, experience, and accomplishments paint the picture for you.
  • It goes without sayings, but avoid false statements on your resume. It’s okay to expound on your experience and boast about your accomplishments, but never lie.  Companies check accomplishments, responsibilities, titles, dates of employment, education, and certifications; so don’t think you can get by.  Also, verify your resume matches the profiles you’ve created on LinkedIn or other sites as recruiters check for discrepancies.  Getting caught lying on your resume or even a misleading statement will be a deal breaker and word may spread throughout your industry.
  • Don’t put unnecessary or irrelevant information on your resume.  You should avoid giving data like your age, marital status, previous salaries, volunteer information, or references; these have no business on a resume.  Rule of thumb: if it isn’t pertinent to whether a company should hire you or not, it should be omitted.
  • Don’t forget the dates.  I always recommend including the dates of your employment, dates of your education and the dates of any events or certifications you have mentioned in your resume.  The one exception is if you’re afraid of age discrimination you may leave off dates of education and early career dates, but know they will be inquired about during interviews.
  • Fill in employment gaps if possible.  If you’ve been out of work for more than a few months, but have been consulting or engaging in ongoing training or education, put it on your resume.  It is better to show that you are staying active in your career than just trying to sell the fact that you’ve been in the job market the whole time.  Avoid letting your career go stagnant, if you’re out of work there are lots of things you can do that will keep you engaged and help your chances of landing that next full-time opportunity.

How many resumes have you sent out this year?  How many interviews have you had?  If interest is waning; try rewriting your resume, and use this as an excuse to reconnect with Recruiters and companies.  If you need resume, interviewing, or career strategy assistance we have a new partner, Encore Career Solutions.  Check them out here.

by:  Anjela Mangrum, CPC

Anjela Mangrum is the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions Inc.  MCS partners with industrial and machining manufacturing businesses to source and secure mid-to-upper level talent for operations, supply chain, and engineering positions.  They work to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search. For hiring needs contact Anjela at 513.753.3813 x101.

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