Serious Résumé Blunders

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Anthony Balderrama of CareerBuilder.com has a good article on msn.careerbuilder.com outlining six serious résumé blunders that’s worth a read — even if you’ve got a stable job, it’s worth knowing… just in case!

Of particular interest to me were:

  1. Forgetting the employer: this goes to the root of my personal belief that any content created (whether text, blog entries, graphics, designs, layouts, etc.) should be catered to the audience; not necessarily the INTENDED audience, but the ACTUAL audience.
  2. Not using keywords: see that tag cloud over on the side of my blog? It’s there for a reason: people like seeing what they’re looking for — if you show them that they’ve found what they’re seeking using keywords or tags that they would use (see #1) they’ll stick around. If you’re not using the specific words that an employer is looking for, chances are your résumé is going in the “round file.”
  3. Using an objective instead of a career summary:  I’ve always thought that the objective was a stupid thing to include on a résumé. After all, isn’t the objective “to catch the hiring manager’s attention, stand out above the rest, get scheduled for a set of interviews, and ultimately be hired for a substantial amount of money”? Of course you can’t come right out and say that (although that might just get you in the door if the person reviewing résumé’s digs your sense of humor). Rather, the objective usually is more along the lines of one-, three-, or five-year goals, where you want to see yourself down the road. This is the approach that I’ve used in the past, but Mr. Balderrama suggests a Career Summary instead. He says, “Like an objective, the summary should give the employer an idea of who you are, except it allows you to focus more on your experience than on your goals. You can briefly mention your career highlights, including past roles and your strongest skills.”
  4. Not keeping up appearances: I’ve subscribed to this philosophy since the very first résumé that I ever wrote (I got marked down in my high school Communications class because I didn’t follow the instructions precisely, but it got me noticed above all the others). Your résumé should stand out, it should be different, it should catch the attention of the reader. At the same time, your résumé must be scannable (both my a machine and by a human), professional, and similar enough to all the other’s in the stack to be considered a “standard résumé” rather than some artistic, abstract interpretation of a résumé.

Mr. Balderrama’s article has a few more tips that are worth reading, take a look!

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