I recently worked with a client who had a 13 page resume! It included every single job for the past 25 years and a full page describing what he was looking for in his next role. The resume even included icons and pictures of the places of employment where he had worked. The document was so large to open that I was scared it contained a virus (no jokes!). He had applied unsuccessfully for numerous jobs before deciding it was time to call upon a resume writing company to analyze his resume.
Knowing what to include in your resume is just as important as knowing what to exclude. Don’t waste time with information that does not add value. Hiring managers and recruiters don’t have time to read through every resume with a fine tooth comb.
Below are 5 things that need to be excluded from your professional resume:
The word “Resume” or “Curriculum Vitae” or “CV” at the top of the resume
When a hiring manager or recruiter first opens your resume what is the first thing they see? Is it your name or is it a big bold heading that says “Resume”? When you are applying for a job it goes without saying that you are including your resume… do you really have to spell it out for them? Not only does writing “Resume” at the top take up valuable real estate space on your resume, but it also adds no value to your application.
Does your resume have a generic objective statement where you tell the reader what you are looking for in a job? Something similar to “Looking to utilize my skills to gain additional skills and experience”? If your resume reads like this do yourself a favor and delete it immediately. Hiring managers want to know that you your resume is written to target their jobs and that you have the skills and experience for that particular role. Stand out from the crowd by replacing your objective statement with a qualifications profile and highlight to the reader what you have to offer their organization.
Too much contact information:
How much personal contact information is required in your resume? My advice is to include your name, email address and mobile number. If you have a LinkedIn profile URL I would include this as well. All other personal information such as date of birth, marriage status, number of kids, religion, race, country of birth, passport details etc. are not required on the resume (except military resume).
Interest and Hobbies:
Unless it can add value to your job application there is no need to include your interest and hobbies within your resume. The fact that you like going on long walks, reading autobiographies and travelling to exotic places will not enhance your resume. Your resume needs to target the job you are applying for and although you may have a long list of extra-curricular activities you like to pursue this list does not belong on your resume.
Your personal and business references do not belong on the resume unless specifically asked. References are typically checked after you apply for the job and are interviewed, and these are supplied to hiring managers on request. There is no need to flood your resume with references. They take up valuable space in your resume and 99/100 times will not even be looked at by the hiring manager. Ensure you have a list of references ready to go, but keep these ready for after you nail the job interview.
Resume trends and hiring manager’s preferences change quickly these days, so it’s important to keep up with current styles. These are some of the top 5 common resume writing mistakes job seekers make. If you find your resume is following into any of these categories try to change it up!
Resume isn’t reader friendly: Hiring managers and recruitment agents are going through hundreds of applications for every one position. They don’t have the time or patience to try to decipher a resume that is cluttered, unorganized or difficult to read because of all the different styles and fonts going on. Make sure your resume is reader friendly—meaning it’s structured simply, includes clear headers and not too busy. Believe it or not, a simply typo or grammatical error can get your resume tossed in the trash so look over your resume several times and ask a friend to proofread it for any common mistakes you might have missed.
Not specific to the position you’re applying for:
Nowadays, one size does not fit all when it comes to your resume. Your resume should be modified slightly for each position you apply for, highlighting your most relevant experience related to the position you’re applying to.
Using online resume templates:
If you want a sure way to look like every other job seeker out there, use an online resume template. Online resume templates can be outdated, include complex or difficult to read organizational layout and cause you to lose authenticity.
Doesn’t focus on achievements:
It used to be okay for you to simply list the duties and responsibilities of your previous positions and that was enough to get you an interview. Unfortunately, it’s not the case anymore. The competition for jobs is fierce. If you want to stand a chance at getting called in for an interview you need to focus on achievements you accomplished in your previous experience rather than simple responsibilities and activities. In addition, you should include key words from the job description to ensure that the terminology you use matches up with that of employers.
Limiting resume to one page:
I remember when I wrote my first resume, I was told that it should all fit onto one page. Well that trend has changed and it’s now okay to have a resume that’s a few pages long. Don’t go on for too long but it’s better to properly highlight all of your experiences than to condense everything into one page and miss out on including all of your achievements for each relevant position.
Want to cause a hiring manager or job recruiter to toss your resume instantly? When an employer is faced with several – possibly hundreds – of applications, he or she will try to narrow this list down quickly. Making one of the following mistakes can get your resume tossed in just a matter of seconds.
This is not a good start to any job application. Failing to include a cover letter instantly means that you have failed to put in that extra 10 minutes of effort, and this is never a good thing. A lot of recruiters delete their first round of applicants simply because they have not included a cover letter.
It happens all the time – candidates get so caught up in applying to as many jobs as possible that they accidentally send their resume sand cover letters to the wrong people. When a recruiter sees that a cover letter has been accidentally addressed to the wrong company, it will get tossed immediately.
It’s true that different resume standards apply to different countries. That being said, some countries are more accepting (and encouraging) of pictures on resumes than others, however please stick to professional-looking photos only – you are applying for a job after all. There is no need to include a picture of yourself posing in a tank top or drinking with friends. Better to stick to no picture at all.
Employers want you to be as specific as possible with regards to your qualifications, and therefore you should provide an adequate amount of information. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people list their job titles ONLY under “work experience”, and that will just not cut it. Once an employer sees that you’ve provided little to no detail on your experience, they will immediately delete your resume.
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