The Top 5 Resume Killers And How To Avoid Them

By: Roger Lear  @rogerlear1

In today's job market, when you apply for a job you have a lot of competition. What will make your resume stand out and get the employer to call you for an interview? What will get your resume or online application noticed? After 22 years of reading and screening resumes I have developed a list of 5 top resume killers that guarantee that you will be put in the back of the line. This list takes into assumption that you already know how to spell and are qualified for the job in which you are applying.

1. No clear objective. If you are applying to a homeowners claims adjuster position at an insurance company, your objective should be "Homeowners Claims Adjuster". It should be bold and at the very top of the resume. The majority of resumes have too much information at the top. Make your objective clear, concise and to the point.

2. One resume fits all. No two companies are alike and therefore, no two resumes should be the same. No matter what job you are applying to, make sure you format your job responsibilities to match that position. Most people have many skills they perform in their jobs. Highlight the skills that fit the job you are applying to so the resume screener can easily see keywords that match.

3. No cover letter. Technology has made it so easy to just click and send your resume to 50 jobs in the matter of minutes. If you are doing this, you certainly are not going to get a lot of responses. Each job you apply to should have a well written cover letter that summarizes your experiences (matching the job requirements). It also should ask for an interview and have clearly defined contact information.

4. Not showcasing accomplishments. If you want to write a great resume, indentify the skills in the job you are applying to and clearly define your actual accomplishments in your previous jobs. Many resumes are just bad job descriptions. If you are a general manager at a restaurant, talk in numbers on how you saved food cost, liquor cost or labor costs by using actual numbers. "Responsible for saving the company $123,000 in food cost by..." Paint your picture with your actual accomplishments.

5. Missing Dates/Confusing Dates. Use months and years in all dates in a resume (June 2007-March 2009). This becomes complicated if you have a lot of short stays, but always get your time line correct. Put reasons for leaving (like layoffs or moves) for short stays only. If employers have to fill in the blanks on your career timeline, most will pass.

After years of reviewing resumes I can offer you this advice. Once you complete your resume, anyone (neighbors, family members) should be able to read it quickly, know what you do and how good you are at doing it! This is done by simple and clear objectives and listed accomplishments in each previous and current job. Does your resume pass this test?

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