I see a lot of resumes … so I see a lot of resume mistakes.
Even brilliant, rocket scientist-level candidates make resume mistakes – because they were taught to write a resume for a very different job market.
Let’s face it, almost every single one of us were taught how to write resumes for the following situations:
- During a time of candidate shortages
- Ignoring impact of social media and Google
- Before candidates were found and selected online
- Before resumes could be keyword searched
- To be printed and read on paper
- For our college placement office – who published them in a book
None of these situations are valid in today’s job market – which makes these following common resume practices the express train to the discard pile:
- Standard resume: If you want your resume to be ignored, send the same resume (or one with a few tweaks) to each opportunity. Prescreeners search for 7 – 10 minimum criteria, rank resumes based on the number of criteria matched and only need to look at 20-30 resumes on average … your odds are awful if you aren’t heavily customizing your resume.
- Brand yourself as a generalist: Hiring managers look for subject matter expertise in resumes, even for generalist positions. When organizations hire for generalist positions, they first screen for one or two specific subject matter expertises, bring in candidates who list the desired expertise, and determine generalist skills during the interview process. If your resume is focused on generalist skills, it seldom gets past the prescreen process, designed to target subject matter expertise.
- Be unclear about what you’re applying for: One of the best ways to have your resume ignored is to be unclear about the job you’re applying for. Your audience spends an average 15 seconds deciding if you’ll get an interview (or not). If your resume is unclear about what you want and why you’re a superior candidate, you can expect that prescreeners, recruiters and hiring managers won’t spend the time to figure it out – they’ll just move on to the next candidate.
- Include job descriptions: Focusing on your job responsibilities is essentially writing a job description. When you focus your reader on your job description, you give the impression that the most impressive thing about you is that you meet minimum job criteria (yawn!). With an average 1,000 competitors for each job, just meeting minimum criteria isn’t enough to impress hiring managers – but it’s just enough to get your resume ignored.
- Put your best stuff on page 2: Your reader makes an interview/non interview decision in 15 seconds on average. They can’t get to page 2 that quickly.
- Fail to demonstrate minimum criteria on resume: If your resume doesn’t meet almost all of the minimum job criteria, how can you get past a pre-screen that searches for those criteria?
- Portraying yourself as qualified: When there are hundreds or thousands of competitors applying against you, your audience sees many candidates who are qualified … so qualified is no longer enough to get you an interview. Today’s employers look for candidates who show why they are superior to the competition – not merely qualified.
- Include a cover letter: Since only 3% of your audience uses cover letters to make an interview decision, 97% of your audience are distracted by cover letters. In addition, Applicant Tracking Systems rarely keyword search cover letters – so why would you put your best stuff there?
- Typos: Your audience has Microsoft Word to help, by underlining any typo you’ve missed … so they won’t. Typos = garbage can.
- Formatting errors: There are two times in your life you’re expected to be perfect – the day you’re born and on your resume. Formatting errors = garbage can.
- Apply via a job board or company website: In http://www.recareered.com/blog/2011/10/17/how-much-of-your-job-search-time-is-spent-on-job-boards/ I demonstrate that you have a 1/10,000th chance of getting a job you apply for through a job board – possibly the worst bet on the planet.
Since you already knew #9 and #10, I’ll throw in a bonus … #11
How many of these mistakes do you make when you send your resume to apply for a job? Since almost every resume I receive has at least 2 of the above mistakes, yours probably does also.
Recruiters and employers – any other deal-killers you can add to the list?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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