There is no such thing as a perfect resume. However, there is such a thing as a resume that will make someone think: “Um…what???” If this is what the recruiter thinks when he/she sees your resume, you are SUNK. If your resume doesn’t get past the recruiter, it will not end up in the “maybe” pile for the hiring manager. Trust me–I know this from experience because I work the Human Resources Department at TDS Telecom. I get to work with a talented, professional group of recruiters who look at resumes on a daily basis.
A lot of articles that point to “do’s and don’ts” when you’re writing a resume. But, what do real-life recruiters think? I went and talked to them to find out what pet peeves they have about resumes. Here’s what they said, in no particular order of annoyance:
1. It’s not all about you—it’s also about the potential employer and their needs
Make your job search about the company you’d like to work for, not you. Spend some time and investigate not only the company, but their biggest competitors as well. Then, present your achievements to quickly demonstrate your understanding of not only an employer’s needs, but challenges within the industry. This is especially critical if you’re transitioning to another industry where you lack experience. Your resume must speak the industry’s language or you won’t be heard.
2. TMI (aka Too Much Information)—especially irrelevant information
One thing I use a lot is the “So what?” rule. So your resume says you did X, Y and Z? So what? What did it mean to the business? It doesn’t matter that you have a dog named Bob, a fish named Bob, and a turtle named Simon James Alexander Ragsdale the Third. You only have about 15 seconds to capture someone’s attention with your resume. That’s it. Ask yourself, “would I hire me based on this information I’ve provided?” If not, scratch it and try again.
3. Overly personal email addresses, voice mail messages, and on-hold music
Our recruiters said it’s amazing how many personal email addresses people use that are inappropriate. One was so inappropriate that, despite the candidate’s strong resume, the recruiter felt, “a little uncomfortable emailing back.” Also, if you have a phone number listed, please ensure the voice mail message and on-hold music is appropriate (meaning, don’t say “Dude, I’m not around. Leave a message and I might call you back if I find you cool enough,” and don’t have 50 Cent’s “We Up” as your on hold music) – keep it professional.
4. Spelling errors – let’s let these speak for themselves.
• “Demonstrated ability in multi-tasting.”
• “My work ethics are impeachable.”
• “I have nervous of steel.”
• “I consistently tanked as top sales producer for new accounts.”
• “I am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.”
• “Dear Sir or Madman,”
• “I can type without looking at thekeyboard.”
• “Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.”
• “I am anxious to use my exiting skills”
• “I attended collage courses for minor public relations”
• “Following is a grief overview of my skills.”
• “I’m attacking my resume for you to review.”
Use spell check AND your own eyes to review before sending.
Make sure the information on your resume—dates, titles, and employer history—is accurate. The recruiter needs to follow up on these details and shouldn’t have to do any digging to find out about you (you know, since you provided it all). It does you no service if you start talking through your resume and the recruiter finds out that most of the dates on your resume are incorrect. They will figure out you’re trying to cover up a gap of in your work history, for instance. Just don’t do it. Be honest and you won’t get into trouble with your recruiter.
Also, related to accuracy, be sure you update your resume carefully for each position you apply for. One of our recruiters specifically said, “We’ll see resumes where someone is applying for a sales job, but the objective listed something opposite like, ‘Looking for a career as an administrative assistant.’” You should update your resume to match the job you are applying for!”
Good luck with your job search—I hope this list helps you put your best foot forward!