What's Ruining Your Resume

Your resume becomes your obsession when you are committed to finding a job. It’s understandable since your career success depends on how you format and write your resume. Sometimes, that pressure can become paralyzing and make it difficult to know how to revise an old outline or a new draft. These are the three most common mistakes job seekers make that can ruin their resumes and reduce their chances of getting interviews.

Empty words/phrases

Human resource managers squint at the exact words that are repeated in resumes (e.g., team player, detail-oriented, reliable). The problem isn’t with the comments themselves. It is in the way that the job seeker uses them.

Let’s take the example of a team player as an illustration. Many job seekers use the phrase in a generic way, such as “Strong team player.” This sentence is a bit stale and leaves much to be desired.

However, the term team player can be attached to any accomplishment, as in the following sentence: Team player valued by colleagues, sales and marketing to secure multimillion-dollar contracts.

The sentence is full of substance. This will allow the human resources manager to get a feel for the achievements you have achieved throughout your career. She will be more likely to call you for an interview if she reads, “Strong team player.”

Use of inappropriate adjectives

Be careful when choosing words that best reflect your professional background and professionalism. Your resume will be suspect if you use words that aren’t representative of who you really are. For example, while many job seekers use the word loyalty in their resumes, a quick glance at the resume will reveal that they have held three jobs over the past five years.

This is a red flag to the human resource manager not only because of the image of the job-hopper but also because they don’t take enough time to create a resume that reflects who they are. Instead, they create a resume using language that appeals to the human resource manager.

This is the lesson: be proud of who you are and not focus on what you think you should do. A resume that is true to the point will be more appreciated by human resource managers than one that uses jargon.

Too many accomplishments

Some job seekers find it difficult to let go of their accomplishments. They worked hard to build a list of achievements and want to share them with a human resources manager to show their full range of experiences.

This is a valid point of view, and it’s also understandable. The plan can backfire when there is an overwhelming number of achievements that are not being used.

The job seeker is now defeating the purpose and value of the resume. A resume is not a contest about which jobseeker has the most accomplishments in their career. However, it is a contest to see who has the most actions that match the job posting responsibilities. This is a valuable lesson.