Mistakes That Will
Kill Your Job Search
by Linda Matias
There are many things you donít have control over during your job search. You
canít control whether or not a hiring manager will call you, what questions you
are asked during your interview or if they will call you back for a second
Thankfully, there are some aspects to the job search process that you can
manage and the way you are represented in your resume is one of them; this is
one of the main reasons why your resume is so important.
In order to create a successful resume, it is essential to be aware and avoid
the following resume mistakes:
"Borrowing" Resume Copy
Resumes can be hard to write. It is easy to get stuck on how to best phrase
your accomplishments or what to leave out of your resume. When difficulties
arise, it is tempting to seek help from other sources, such as copying
accomplishment statements from resume books or borrowing information from a
friendís resume. This tactic almost never works. It can also backfire on you.
For example, if you copy from a book, you run the risk of the hiring manager
reading that book and seeing your resume in there!
Your accomplishments, skills, and abilities deserve to be showcased in an
original way that best sells you. Take the time to create your own style and
look to your rťsumť.
Writing a ďMe-OrientedĒ Introduction
Your objective or profile statement is the first section of a resume that
hiring managers read. This section must be compelling and showcase the immediate
contributions you can bring to an organization. This can be the hardest part of
the resume to write and unfortunately, most job seekers donít pay much attention
to this section. Many write a statement that is meaningless.
For example, the most famous resume introduction Ė Seeking a challenging
position where there is room for growth. What is this objective statement really
saying about you? Nothing at all! By using this type of introduction, the only
message you are sending to an employer is that you are not interested in the
hiring organizations needs, only your own.
Unfocused Job Objective
Without a doubt, writing a resume with the premise of, ďI donít care what
type of job I get, I just need a job,Ē will lead to failure. A resume must be
targeted to a specific objective. If this means that you need to develop more
than one resume for each job objective, then so be it.
A focused job objective tells the reader the type of position you are seeking
and describes key marketable and transferable skills you can offer.
Poorly Written Resume Copy
Many job seekers try to write a resume in an hour without taking inventory
of their qualifications or researching the hiring organization. They also donít
take the time to evaluate who they are, what they can do for an organization,
and why an organization will want to hire them.
Compelling resume copy has three criteria:
- Key understanding of the audience
- Strong, succinct message of qualifications
- Relate past successes to the hiring organizations immediate needs
If your resume doesnít meet these three criteria, it wonít make the needed
impact on the hiring manager.
Wrong Resume Format
The resume format you choose to showcase your career history is very
The two widely used formats are:
- The chronological resume arranges your experience and education in
chronological order, with the most recent dates first.
- The functional resume highlights specialized knowledge, marketable talents
that are in demand, and your strong vocational and transferable skills.
Regardless of which format you choose, be certain that the format supports
No Visual Impact
Fortune 500 companies spend a great deal of money on product packaging and
presentation because they know customerís buying decisions are influenced by how
a product looks. This same philosophy holds true for a hiring manager. When they
have to sift through a pile of resumes, they will automatically be drawn to the
resume that is easier for them to read. Combined with strong resume copy, a
clean and easy to read resume layout will generate more positive responses.
Over-use of Bullets
The only purpose of a bulleted statement is to draw the readerís attention
to key accomplishments. If every statement is bulleted, the reader will have a
difficult time differentiating between them. Also, for maximum visual impact,
combine the use of paragraphs and bulleted statements.
Linda Matias is President of CareerStrides and The
National Resume Writers' Association. She has been quoted in The Wall Street
Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. Visit her website
or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.