Resume Do’s And Dont's: 3 Reasons Why Your Resume Stands out For the Wrong Reason
When It Comes to Drawing Attention, There Are Some Resume Do’s And Don’ts
When looking at a resume, science says a hiring manager decides whether they like your resume within six seconds: you must make an impression almost immediately! The goal of the resume is to stand out and hopefully land the interview for your dream job,... but not to stand out for all the wrong reasons. I personally have overlooked thousands of resumes, and I see a lot of the same mistakes repeatedly, but luckily most of these mistakes are easily correctable. The three most common mistakes I repeatedly come across are: Bad grammar, unexplained gaps in employment, and generic and/or overdone resume filler (seriously, so much filler it would make a dentist proud!). But rest easy! I assure you, if you take these suggestions and opportunities to heart, you’ll be that much closer to crafting a resume worth reading and nailing that interview for your dream job.
1. Bad Grammar
Bad grammar is one of the biggest signs of unprofessionalism to an employer. I’ve seen so many resumes where the writer didn’t even spell their own position title correctly! If you can’t even spell out what you do correctly, how can they be sure you’ll do this job competently? Now I know not everyone is the best speller out there, and true,... technology has adjusted our baseline for effort in a world of autocorrects and autocomplete efficiencies,.... this, and maybe you're having a hard time with a new language, but luckily there are so many outlets to help you in this regard. Before you send out your resume, call up a friend or two and have them look at it with you. After reading something so many times, we may not even notice an error other people would see (I called it not seeing the text for the T's,... kind of like the forest for the trees - but I digress). Bottom line, having people to bounce ideas off of will give you a chance to test out what a recruiter would read, so actively seeking out and getting that feedback from people you trust is important. There are also plenty of brand new browser plugins that check your grammar in real time! Don’t always rely on this though, because as good as a computer is, it may not pick up on words with double meanings or the correct word that is just in the wrong spot. Grammar is a fundamental indicator of attention-to-detail, and your resume language is the first indicator of your professionalism; you want people to see your achievements, not be hung up on your grammar goofs.
2. Unexplained Employment Gaps
Gaps in employment don’t have to be a deal breaker, if they are addressed professionally and purposefully. I have seen gaps in employment many times and some common answers I have received are:
Adjusting to having a family.
Balancing class schedules.
Military deployment or volunteer work.
When addressing a gap, letting a hiring manager know that you started a family or beat a disease and you took some time off, is so much better than leaving it blank and leaving it up to the recruiter to try and connect the dots. It's been said that all assumption are negative assumptions, so don't leave this gap open to chance! Talk about it. Many recruiters will see the unexplained gaps and simply pass over them, rather than implore the candidate because they have to get through so many resumes, which has the added effect of placing your application in a slightly disadvantageous light,... only without you knowing about it. Don’t be ashamed of your reason for having a gap, and just make sure you can answer that question confidently and professionally. Being upfront and honest show your values and integrity, which is something recruiters look for outside of relevant work experience.
3. Generic and Filler Resume Information
Lastly, when filling out your resume you should craft something that is unique and not the generic response that is so common in many resumes. The mistake many people make when trying to improve their resume is padding it with generic filler information. Just a quick pro tip here - doing this doesn’t make you seem special, it just comes across as repetitive and uninspired. No recruiter will look at your resume and see words like “hard-working” and “people person” and drop everything they are doing to call you. As an employee, being hard-working and pleasant to be around is expected, along with many other baseline behavioral norms. Instead of saying you’re hard working, list your achievements that prove that these accomplishments came to life and were a direct result of your roles and duties. Presenting hard data and metrics work well also, especially if the position you're applying for has significant 'proof of life' criteria when it comes to either creative work, marketing and sales results, or numerical quotas and criteria that were measurable and time-bound. Recruiters want tangible examples of your work ethic; anyone can just say that they work hard and it won’t mean anything unless they can back it up. By explaining your achievements through factual examples of your work, you standout for the right reason. A wise person once said (when it comes to getting results), words talk a lot, numbers MEAN a lot. Take this to heart and you can't go wrong.
Standing Out Is All in the Specifics & Skills
Writing a resume is a skill, and you won’t ever get it right the first time. I personally make tweaks to mine all the time; it’s a living and breathing document, not a static piece of paper. By using professional and correct grammar, explaining your employment gaps readily and with confidence, and by trimming the filler and proving your worth by mastering metrics in your content action-beats, you can have a resume that will help you stand out in the eyes of a recruiter. A good resume is key to landing an interview and getting noticed,... just make sure they notice you for the right reasons.
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