Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five Common Reasons Resumes Get Discarded

Posted by Meghan M. Biro

Who can forget Elle Woods, cheerfully handing her resume to her law professor’s assistant. “It’s pink,” he says. “And scented. I think it gives it a little something extra,” she bubbles in reply.
But wait – maybe not so much.

In the annals of resume mistakes, ‘cute’ is near the top of the list. Let’s look beyond cute at five more common reasons resumes are discarded – often before they’ve even been read.

Spelling, grammar, punctuation
Tales of resumes with spelling errors are legion among hiring managers – from the pathetically funny ‘Pubic Relations Expert’ to the sadly amusing ‘Manger’ where Manager was intended. Spell check is adequate but not sufficient – use a real dictionary if you’re unsure how something is spelled, have a friend read the resume  to you back to front to proofread for errors, have a parent read it, or, best option, retain a professional resume writer or coach for final review, edit and proof. Your resume is your proxy with prospective employers. Make sure to present your best face.

Objective statements
Once a resume standby, have fallen out of use. Stating your objectives on a resume is a triple-fail – it focuses the resume on what you want, rather than how your skills match the job description; it steals precious space for information that should be in the cover letter; and, except in cases where your job record may not match the requirements of the post you’re applying for, it doesn’t tell the recruiter anything they don’t already know. It may be ok to use an objective statement when you’re trying to position your experience in one field as applicable to a new opportunity in a different field, but even that’s a stretch.  Avoid the objective statement to avoid the wastebasket.

Overly formatted
Cursive fonts, multiple fonts, elaborate paragraphing, excessive use of bullets, gratuitous boxes and margin rules, graphics and images – especially photographs – stop many recruiters before they’ve read word one. Communicate clearly why you’re the right candidate by including useful information about your skills and experience, and using formatting sparingly. Formatting your resume in such a way that it’s hard to read – or cute – is a mistake.

Too much information - More Information and Complete Glassdoor article

Meghan M. Biro, founder of TalentCulture, is a serial entrepreneur and globally recognized career expert in talent acquisition, creative personal and corporate branding.

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