When putting together a CV, it’s simple to make inadvertent errors. But how can we tell what is correct and what is incorrect?”
1. A BLAND OR GENERIC OBJECTIVE: If your objective could be applied to a marketing resume just as readily as an accounting resume, it says nothing and will get you nowhere. An aim isn’t some mandatory paragraph at the top of the page that’s just a 5 line exercise in job speak. It’s a true and accurate account of your abilities as they relate to who you are and what you want. It should differ depending on the type of job you’re applying for.
2. BLAND JOB DESCRIPTION:“Responsibilities included overseeing the development of four 50-story Hilton Hotels in the Tri-City Metro Area.” Yeah? What’s the big deal? That says nothing about whether they were completed on time or on budget. It’s unclear whether you promoted yourself to handle all four hotels or if the gentleman in charge of two of them was sacked. Make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicants. How will the recruiting firm know if you don’t tell them how you will be a valuable asset to them?
3. WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE MYSTERY COMPANY? Don’t assume that your company’s name and mission are well-known. It might be if it’s a competition or if it’s in the same industry as you and is close by. Provide a phrase or two on the focus of your company’s products or services just to be safe.
4. A NEW JOB, A NEW PARAGRAPH: Do not keep adding to your résumé year after year, job after job. You should have weeded out some of the early material by the time you’re in your 40s. You don’t need to participate in all of the college events; all you need is your diploma. For your first two jobs, you don’t need all five bullets.
5. REFERENCES: References should not be included on your CV. The right phrase is “references accessible upon request.” When they’re asked, you present them separately. This isn’t about following the rules. This is to ensure that your references are not contacted until you and the firm is both serious about working together.
6. THIS ISN’T A STORY! Don’t! Do not, under any circumstances, write your CV in the third person!
7. SKIP THE PERSONAL INFORMATION: You might think that your weekend baseball coaching or church choir membership demonstrates that you’re a well-rounded individual, but they’re both irrelevant. Aside from the job interview and your qualifications, the interviewer will inquire about you as a person.
8. DATE OF GRADUATION: Regardless of your age, including the date of your graduation on your resume. Everyone counts the years backward to figure out how old you are as if you’re hiding something (which you are, aren’t you?). You might be ruled out just for forgetting the date.
What else might you withhold if you’re trying to hide your age by not disclosing the date?
9. SPELL CHECK, SPELL CHECK, SPELLCHECK: Spell checking visually by you AND someone else three times is insufficient. Also, double-check your punctuation.
10. GETTING YOUR RESUME OUT THERE
PART 1: Don’t use a resume blaster. The majority of the sites they send it to aren’t even legitimate. You have no idea how it will turn out on the other side. You have no idea where it’s going or if the landing targets are related to employment. It’s poor etiquette, and it’s certainly not the way to discover your ideal job. It takes focus, attention, detail, personality, customization, and specificity to find your ideal work. Resume blasting is about the furthest thing from that.
PART TWO OF GETTING YOUR RESUME OUT THERE: If it’s an advertisement, you’ll most likely be given instructions on how to distribute it. If it says email, copy it and paste it into the form, along with an attachment. Because of the range of choices available to each user, you never know what it will look like on the other end. To be honest, you’re better off not submitting anything at all, because it normally just disappears into cyberspace, and then it’s all about the hiring firm – but, sadly, sometimes that’s your only option.
When you email your CV, you are removing any possibility of further engagement from your hands, because often there isn’t even a name for a follow-up contact. You have no choice but to wait and wonder. (And half of the time, it’ll be scanned into an electronic database by HR or an admin department.)
PART THREE OF GETTING YOUR RESUME OUT THERE: If you know the company, phone and inquire about their preferred method of communication: email, fax, or snail mail. A recruiter I know never even looked at his email. He received so many applications forwarded to him cold (so NOT proactive) since he was featured in The Kennedy Guide to Executive Recruiters that he just did a mass delete every morning. Candidates who were contacted for a specific position were asked to send their resumes to him by snail mail. What do you think? I’m willing to wager that less than 10% of people that emailed their resumes bothered to check to see if they were received (this isn’t a numbers game).
13. VISUALS FOR RESUME: Ivory paper Ink is black. Pages on their own. There are no plastic sliders or metal push-down tabs on the 7th-grade science report cover. Not on a cover page that says “Introducing Clifton Lewis Montgomery III,” but with your name centered at the top. There are no exceptions. Your CV is not a school book report or an art project; it is a professional document. Until every resume is formatted in this manner, yours will stand out.
Your resume is the marketing tool, and you are the product. You must set yourself apart from the other candidates who will be interviewed to land your dream job.
Your resume should be centered on the changes you’ve made with your prior employers, as well as the accomplishments you’ve achieved with – and for – them. It should be particular, individualized, and easy to scan so that it begs a deeper read. This shows the recruiting firm what you can do for them, and it’s all about them, not you.
Of course, this is assuming that you meet the job’s qualifications; otherwise, no matter how impressive your CV is, it won’t help you get the job. The resume is the ticket to the interview. You won’t even get in the door if your resume is poorly written, is sloppy, is difficult to read, is obscure in any manner, or requires slogging through to learn your information (they won’t bother).
And how can you tell if you like a firm if they’ve already determined they don’t?