1. Too Focused on Job Duties
Your resume should not be just a listing of job duties and responsibilities. Describe the organization, i.e., product, size, markets and where appropriate demonstrate how you made a difference, providing specific examples. Managers, Sales Representatives, Accounting or Engineering professionals developing achievements might consider:
Many candidates lose their readers in the beginning. Statements like "A challenging position enabling me to contribute to organizational goals while offering an opportunity for growth and advancement" are overused, too general and waste valuable space. If you're on a career track, replace the objective with statements of what you can do extremely well or your special expertise/knowledge.
3. Too Short or Too Long
Many people try to squeeze their experiences onto one page, because they've heard resumes shouldn't be longer. By doing this, job seekers may delete impressive achievements or experience. There are also candidates who ramble on about irrelevant or redundant experiences. There is no rule about appropriate resume length. When writing your resume, ask yourself, "Will this statement help me land an interview?" Every word should sell you, so only include information that elicits a "yes."
4. Using Personal Pronouns and Articles
A resume is a form of business communication, so it should be concise and written in a telegraphic style. There should be no mentions of "I" or "me," and only minimal use of articles. For example:
Should be changed to:
5. Listing Irrelevant Information
Many people include their interests, but they should only include those relating to the job. For example, if a candidate is applying for a position as a ski instructor, it's appropriate to list cross-country skiing as a hobby. You are not required to include personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, height and weight in a resume unless you're an entertainment professional or a job seeker outside the US.
6. Using a Functional Resume When You Have a Good Career History
Hiring managers want to see career progression and the impact made at each position. Unless you have an emergency situation, such as virtually no work history or excessive job-hopping, avoid the functional format, i.e., tasks/accountabilities and accomplishments only.
The modified chronological format is an option but keep in mind employers’ want a clear picture of you, to include employment gaps and reasons for change. Here's the basic layout for modified chronological:
Begin with current or most recent employment emphasizing achievements and go back at least 10 to 15 years
Education (new grads may put this at the top)
7.Not Including a Summary Section or Cover Letter That Sells
This is one of the job seeker's greatest tools. Candidates who have done their homework will know the skills and competencies important to a particular position. The summary should demonstrate the skill level and experience directly related to the position being sought. To create a high-impact summary statement, peruse job openings to determine what's important to employers. Next, write a list of your matching skills, experience and education. Incorporate these points into your summary or cover letter.
8. Where Are the Keywords?
With so many companies using technology to store resumes, the only hope a job seeker has of being found is to include relevant keywords sprinkled throughout the resume. Determine keywords by reading job descriptions that interest you and include them in your resume.
9. References Available
Employers want professional references. Why not include those that would not be sensitive (to your current job confidentiality) so prospective employers can have everything they need to assess your qualifications. References need to be managers you worked for plus a colleague or two and subordinates if seeking a managerial position. It is fine for Sales professionals to list customers as well as those mentioned above.
10.Typos, Strike Overs, Hand Corrections
These can land your resume in the garbage. Proofread and show your resume to several friends to have them proofread it as well. This document is a reflection of your work and should be flawless.
11. Getting Past a Rejection Letter
Upon receiving a rejection letter, take a few moments to acknowledge your feelings but don’t dwell on them.
Start thinking immediately about your next step or, better yet, strategies already initiated.
When you’re looking for employment opportunities in a sluggish or recessionary economy you know very well that you’re not alone out there. A lot of people are likely to receive rejection letters.
If you take it personally then in all likelihood feelings of being ignored or inadequate, powerless, isolated, humiliated or any combination of these emotions will begin to dominate and cause you to end up wallowing in self-pity. Don’t let it happen!
Keep in mind that when another candidate is selected the most common reason is stronger or more closely related qualifications. This is not a personal rejection. It means the organization made a decision that seemed the most appropriate to their particular needs. We’ve had employers advise us that the candidate selected lived closer, was born/raised in the community or just seemed more interested in the job. The point is, again, move on to the next.
Stay focused and proactive. Don’t stop your opportunity search until an offer has been made and accepted. Self-evaluation helps you prefect strategies so here are some ideas for consideration:
If you really like a firm who sent a rejection letter, write a note expressing appreciation for their time and consideration plus your sincere interest in future opportunities.
Are you pursuing positions too far above or below your qualifications – without explanation?
If you have short employment tenure without sufficient explanation on your resume, this may cause automatic rejection and no interview at all. Clarification can make a big difference.
Are you asking questions about the firm and position accountabilities rather then just pay, benefits, hours and advancement? As a general rule it is best not to bring up the compensation question at the first interview unless asked. If you’re being referred by a recruiting service the employer and you already have an idea of compensation objectives. If you’ve answered an ad on your own it is always acceptable to say you are more interested in the position and future than starting salary. However, if you have an absolute minimum, it’s best to say so.