9 Resume Writing Mistakes That Make Your Resume Downright Awful–Or Just Mediocre

Here are just a few big resume writing mistakes that can keep you from being taken seriously as a candidate.

These resume mistakes practically guarantee yours will be:
unseen,

ignored,

rejected

–and maybe even ridiculed.

There are millions of resumes floating around out there in both paper and electronic formats.

  • Some are downright awful. They’re an embarrassment. They should be burned or deleted.
  • Most are just mediocre. They’re not horrible, but they don’t make the boss jump up and down with excitement. Being “just OK” is not a recipe for a successful job search.
  • A few are fantastic and make the boss want to pick up the phone to set up an interview.

Here are a just a few of the many mistakes people make with their resumes. Fixing these things may not get you all the way to fantastic, but it will definitely move you significantly in the right direction.

Mistake #1:  Yucky Career Summaries

What better way to start down the road to creating a downright awful resume than with a career summary chock full of career jargon? People who look at lots of resumes practically get nauseous when they see something like this:

CAREER SUMMARY

Hard-working, results-oriented executive who impacts the bottom-line. Problem solver and team player who communicates well and gets the job done….

 “Results-oriented” is a worn-out phrase. Most people are hard workers. We ALL solve problems. In fact, my dog solves problems. So, don’t tell me that you solve problems; let me know what kinds of problems you solve. What can you do that most people (and my dog) can’t?  Communicate your best skills in meaningful, plain English, like this:

THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING OF THIS REPORT.  Click here to get your free copy of the entire report.  Just write “Resume Report” and we’ll send it right out. We’ll also periodically send you other helpful tips and articles.

Age Discrimination in Hiring: Are You Making It Worse?

These days, age discrimination is rampant. Many successful executives struggle to find decent jobs. While age discrimination is very real, many times, older executives can make the problem much worse than it has to be. They neglect job search fundamentals.

How about you? Are you doing the fundamentals right?  For some of you, this article might seem elementary. But we see seasoned executives neglecting these fundamentals all the time. 


Focusing on Online Job Postings

A lot of people spend countless
hours responding to online job postings because it’s easier than getting out in
the trenches and networking.  

Given that many employers
are screening out older workers, it makes sense to use the best strategy and
tactics to overcome this. Studies repeatedly show that most people get their
jobs from personal connections. So, go with the percentages. Spend 80-90% of
job search time in a person-to-person campaign.

In-person meetings provide better opportunities to make a case for yourself-and to discuss how you produce more value than a younger worker does. 

Retched Resume
A woman from Winnetka complained that she had applied to over 100 jobs online without a single interview. She was indignant about the age discrimination she was experiencing.

But chances are that no one was discriminating against her. She was applying for the same job that dozens (or maybe hundreds) of others were seeking. Her resume didn’t have the “right stuff” to be found by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), the software that many employers use to screen resumes. It was likely that no human being ever saw her resume.

The ATS pulled out
several candidates who were interviewed; the rest languished in the “dungeon”
of the company database.

Her resume was the unremarkable kind we often see. No accomplishments. Lots of trite phrases and job hunting jargon. Old fashioned format. No attention to keywords and other ATS issues. Should the ATS ever find this resume, it would not get even a second glance from an employer.

Lifeless LinkedIn profiles
“Joe,” a CFO from Highland Park, committed the job hunting “sin” that is common with people of all ages. He didn’t take advantage of LinkedIn as a marketing tool. Some don’t have a profile at all. Others have nothing more than their titles, companies, and dates of employment. Still others have written more, but their copy is dull and lifeless. They say they are “problem solvers,” just like millions of others. They top it off with a poor-quality photo, don’t ask for recommendations, and don’t pay any attention to keywords. It all adds up to a lost opportunity to advance the job search.

Inarticulate Verbal Presentation
Can you tell a networking contact or an employer how you provide value for a company? No? That’s going to hurt you.

Why would anyone refer you to a trusted associate if you’re not able to do this? Or if you can’t clearly describe your accomplishments — that’s a problem. Employers crave candidates who can make them feel confident that their problems are solved.

Inept Networking
You’ve been around the block a few times and understand that networking is the key to getting hired, but somehow, your networking isn’t getting you anywhere. 

It’s critical to have a
marketing plan. Do you know which companies you’d like to work for? Do you know
who at those companies you need to talk to get hired? Do you have a plan for
getting in to talk to those people? Supposing you do get into their offices, do
you know what you will say to them?

One key part of making a good impression is treating networking like a two-way street. Think about what you can do for the other person, either now or in the future.

What ARE you wearing?
That suit served you well twelve years ago, but these days, it’s looking a bit frumpy. That tie … sure, you like it, but no one is wearing those any more. Women: same theme, different details.

Be sure you look sharp and up to date. Think about this at networking meetings as well. We are living in times when casual dress is much more acceptable, but don’t get too casual. Be sure you make a good impression when you go out in public.

Neglecting the details can kill you. A while ago, I met with a client from Kenilworth to prep him just before his job interview. He looked great. The suit, the shirt, the tie all worked. But he smelled! His suit had been in storage and it just reeked. His sense of smell wasn’t the best, so he hadn’t noticed. I sent him rushing home to change.

BIG Interview, No
Preparation

One of our clients had a big interview coming up with a company in Evanston. When we suggested that she prepare, she said, “I’m good at interviewing. I don’t need to prepare for the interview coming up in a couple of days.” Yes, you do!

Age discrimination is real, so don’t compound the problem by neglecting sound job search fundamentals.

Want to find out if the fundamentals are killing your search–and how to fix them? Call us at 847-673-0339