Monday, June 14, 2010

Résumé Rejected? Here's Why!

As a professional résumé writer, I am often exposed to what can be perceived to be the 7 Deadly Sins of résumé writing. Hiring manages know all the gimmicks, so why risk your future on a cheap trick?
  1. The Extensive Vocabulary Gimmick

    Using big words and lengthy sentences will not help you sound important, especially if or when they are used incorrectly. .Your résumé should be always be an easy read. When your résumé is not concise and direct, the reader gets confused and distracted. (The $5 word to use here is 'discomfited'). Using common words and clear sentences helps to put the focus on your background and abilities.
  2. Missing Employment Dates

    Eliminating your dates of employment to disguise career gaps will not work. Recruiters know that missing dates can only mean one of two things, either you are trying to hide a poor career history or you are just plain careless. In order to pass the detailed résumé review, always include employment dates. If you need to extend the longevity of your résumé and minimize gaps, consider listing the only the year instead of month and year.
  3. Cutting and Pasting Job Requirements

    On the surface, copying content directly from the original job posting may sound like a great idea because you will have some of the keywords that your prospective employer is looking for will be incorporated into your résumé. The problem with this strategy is that copying the content word for word may be telegraphing a lack of creativity and initiative. Try crafting original wording by using keywords and phrases that your employer will be looking for so that your résumé can stand out from the stack.
  4. Copying Your Job Description

    This may be a quick and easy way to get all your duties on the résumé if you are trying to create a job description. But, your résumé should viewed as a marketing document that focuses on your achievements rather than your job duties. If an employer is posting a job, they already know the basic duties. It is best to build a résumé that is rich with accomplishments and demonstrates what distinguishes you from the rest of the candidates.
  5. The Fancy Paper Trick

    A résumé printed on fluorescent pink or bright blue paper is guaranteed to stand out long enough to be dumped in the trash. This strategy was outdated years ago and for good reason. Intense colours are not suitable for a professional business document. When submitting your résumé via e-mail, it is best to refrain from using the fancy stationary that is available through many word processing software. It is also a good idea to stick to the 'dull and boring' fonts that are less likely to show up as funny little symbols when sent to recipients that do not share the same word processing software. If you are choosing to send your résumé via snail mail, select a high-quality résumé stock paper that is watermarked and brilliant white or off-white in colour.
  6. The Mass E-Mail Ploy

    Job searching is a numbers game. But broadcasting your résumé by e-mail to multiple recipients at the same time will not work. These e-mail messages are treated as spam and deleted before they are ever read. It is best to send your résumé individually with a personalized cover letter to the appropriate person involved in the hiring process..
  7. The Big Lie

    Many people “creatively embellish” their résumés. Dishonest candidates who falsify their job title, responsibilities, dates, academic credentials, and grade point average are looking for trouble. Most reputable organizations do background checks and may also request official copies of your transcript. As you go higher up in the organizational hierarchy, the more rigorous the screening process will become. Always be completely ethical and honest in all your dealings, written and verbal. With integrity, you will earn genuine credibility, trust, and respect.

A well-thought out approach, based on sound résumé writing principles will generate interviews. If you can avoid some of these tacky tricks, you will be well on your way to producing results. If you are unable to design an outstanding strategic résumé, hire a good résumé writer. It is money well spent. A professional résumé writer is an objective third party with the expertise to overcome your obstacles and make you shine!

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