A lousy resume kills job searches. Well, OK, maybe it doesn’t KILL them. Someone will hire you eventually for something. But they can really hurt you.
Even resumes from services that charge huge fees can be disasters. One man asked my opinion about a resume that an online service did for him—for a hefty $800 fee. I had to tell him he’d been ripped off. The copy looked like a high school student had written it.
Here are a four common resume disasters. There are, of course, many more.
1. The On-and-On-and-On Resume
A Chicago woman sent me a resume that was seven pages long. No matter how fascinating your career might be, no one wants to get seven pages from you. You need to select the best information.
Imagine that basketball great Michael Jordan was writing his resume—not that he needs one! We COULD list every single game he’d ever played and give his statistics from each one. But that would be utterly tedious.
Even the most die-hard basketball fans would be snoozing before they got a quarter of the way through it.
This kind of resume puts employers to sleep.
Instead, Mr. Jordan might write this:
- Six times NBA champion
- Five times NBA Most Valuable Player
- Six times NBA Finals MVP
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year
- 10 times scoring champion
- 14 times NBA All-Star
You get the idea real fast, without all the details. Less is often more.
People at the beginning of their careers should usually limit themselves to one page. People farther along shouldn’t exceed two or three (of course, there are exceptions to any rule).
2. The Slop-Another-Job-On-Top Resume
That resume worked for you a long time ago. And the next time you looked for work, you added your latest job on top. You repeated that process every time you’ve looked for a job. But that method doesn’t work. It’s important to evaluate and reevaluate yourself as you move through your career. A few things to consider:
- Your skill set has enhanced/changed. Is that reflected on the resume?
- How have you responded to changes in technology?
- What is relevant/not relevant in today’s market or for the job you want?
A client from Kenilworth sent us one of these. He wrote a resume after graduating from college. Even since then, he’s pulled out that same resume and put his latest job on it. It was like a fifty-year-old man walking around in his high school gym clothes. We fixed that quick so that he looks like a real professional.
3. The Yep-I-Was-There Resume
I’ve seen thousands of resumes, and a large percentage of them focus on duties and responsibilities. They pay little or no attention to what the boss most wants to know: what results do you get? Even a lot of top performers do this, making themselves look bland, ordinary, and even boring.
Remember, your resume is a marketing document. If the boss reading it doesn’t get excited enough to pick up the phone to call you, it isn’t doing its job. The boss is eager to find someone who can help with his/her problems, so show you can cut through problems like a knife through butter. Show the boss that you get results.
I was astounded to see a resume from a client from Highland Park. This man had done mind-boggling work, creating facilities of a size and with features that hadn’t been done before. But it all focused on his duties. Blah blah blah. No wonder no one was getting excited.
4 .The Linger-Forever-in-the-Online-Database Resume
When applying for jobs online, it’s imperative that applicant tracking systems will find what you transmit. Otherwise, your resume will be lost in a sea of bits and bytes, destined to never see the light of day.
Applicant tracking systems are software packages employers use as electronic recruitment tools. Since employers can receive hundreds of applications for a single job posting, it’s impossible to read or even manually scan all of them. They use this software to select the best few—at least, according to the software.
You need to understand the power of keywords, how to use them, formatting that will allow your most critical information to be found by these systems, and much more. Just one example: information that you put into a text box may well be invisible to the applicant tracking system.
A man from Winnetka came to see us after being out of work for eight months. He’d diligently applied to jobs online, but had zero interviews. I doubt any human being ever saw this resume.
NOTE: If all you’re doing in your search is submitting resumes to online postings, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. You’re competing with a huge pool of applicants for jobs that quite often are not the best jobs.
A Poor Resume is a sign of a poor job campaign
While a resume is only about 10% of what it takes to get hired, Still, it is a critical 10%. Do it right. Poor resumes almost always are a sign of a poor job campaign.
Successful executives often decide their job search is too important to do alone. At Lucrative Careers, we’ve helped countless professionals transform their resume from a bland, template-based chronology to a dynamic document that stands out from the competition.
Want us to fix your resume and/or discuss your job search? We’re happy to have a no-obligation phone call. You can call Steve at 847-673-0339 or Jack at 847 251 4727 or send us a note at Steve@LucrativeCareersInc.com.