Due to my profession I have to read a large number of resumes every day, so I’m more aware than others of the most common mistakes in their writing. Given the enormous importance of this document in the career path, I would like to be able to contribute some simple but practical ideas to help you write or improve your resume.
Before going into detail, some information that you should know:
Everything lies in the first impression.
Research suggests that the average recruiter takes less than a minute to read a resume. Some even say they can do a quick check in just six seconds.
Think about this:
When there is a vacancy for a great position, recruiters get to review hundreds of applications to choose the best candidate. Hiring someone is a process full of competition within the job market.
Here are the tips to help you improve your resume
Don’t put the whole story of your life
Include only information about experience and skills directly related to the job you apply for.
Focus on what the position requires: If the company asks for someone with marketing skills, the recruiter will look for examples of success and data relevant to that area. Highlight these data on your resume so that you can pass the pre-selection stage.
Take away the irrelevant things: Where you did basic, the vacation job you did 20 years ago. These data do not need to be on your resume. They don’t interest the recruiter and just make your resume long and boring.
Be brief and concise
The recruiter must be able to find the information quickly and clearly. Try to be brief in everything you write, but also as precise as possible: Put your name, current position, work experience and the positions you have held.
Be sure to add the start and end dates for each charge. Mention the areas of responsibility you had and the main achievements you obtained in them.
Resume with or without a photo?
Your appearance for an important position is often superfluous and unnecessary. The recruiter does not need to waste their time looking at your photo or being influenced by your physical appearance. Also, since we live in a hyper-communicated era, your photograph is going to appear sooner or later. For example, make sure that your Linkedin profile does have your photo.
Only occasionally and for certain positions does the recruiter specifically require photo resumes. In that case, it is advisable to follow this indication without fail.
Do not put a photo taken from your social networks, where you appear to be at a party etc.
Take a photograph for your resume, with the help of a professional photographer , where you appear in work clothes (formal), and your face looks fresh, with a friendly expression, and there are no distracting elements in the background.
Do not put a cover letter unless expressly requested
In general, a cover letter clogs the recruiter’s vital space and time. It is best to put in your resume all the details that match the skills required by the position.
Only include a letter if the recruiter expressly asks for it. Also, do not attach a scan of your degree and all your diplomas. It is not necessary, because it is enough that you mention them. (There are companies with job application forms that do not accept more than 2Mb of attachments).
Set objectives oriented to specific results
When writing company goals on your resume, don’t put vague things like, “I’m looking for a challenging position that offers career growth.” Well, we all look for a position that allows us to grow.
Think a bit, analyze and focus on the job you are applying to at the time. Then list how your experience and skills will help in the area for the position you aspire to.
To do this, read the description of the job you want to obtain a couple of times to make sure that there is congruence between the requested requirements with what you offer in your objectives.
Imagine that you are applying to a position where a web developer is requested. You can put something like:
“To work in a team and offer my five years experience in the area of web development to provide the client with innovative proposals, always ensuring compliance and optimization of resources and time.”
As you can see, the objective focuses on the specific job position and tells how your experience will help the company. For example: improve customer service, cut times, etc.
Avoid irrelevant personal details
Imagine that you are coaching a local team in your community, but that has nothing to do with the job you are applying for. If that is the case, it is unnecessary information and you should not itemize it. Unless the position is for a sports coach, don’t put it.
The same happens with the marital status and other personal aspects. In many cases, in fact, it is illegal for a recruiter to ask for such information during the interview. So why include them?
On the other hand, if the position specifies that the worker has a profile related to such activities, then you can talk about it.
The key is very simple: The information you post should reflect an advantage or ability to work in the area to which you apply. Something that makes you the right person for the job. You must be very selective with this aspect. If something doesn’t meet that requirement, don’t put it. Check out these professional resume examples for inspiration.
Skip jobs older than 15 years
Putting in the positions and jobs that you have held since you graduated is too much. The general rule is a 15-year limit for the positions you have held. That way, your resume won’t become an autobiographical document.
Describe specialized skills
Don’t waste space on your resume by putting things like “can use MW Word and MS Excel.” It goes without saying that a modern professional knows these things by default, just as he knows how to use a notebook and answer the phone.
Such information is a waste of time for the recruiter. Therefore, a current resume should not include it.
On the other hand, if, for example, you have knowledge of 3D modeling and freehand drawing, and the job offer is as a graphic designer, those are relevant knowledge to mention in a resume.
Use sober typography and avoid overly creative formats
Maybe you didn’t know, but many resume tracking software systems remove all the decorations from resumes. The recruiter’s display format is sometimes plain text.
Another way to improve your resume enormously is to avoid overloading it with unnecessary ornaments (corners, frames, etc.).
Even if the recruiter reads your resume directly on paper, these details can be distracting and even annoying.
Better stay sober and organize the content of your resume well.
Take care of your writing and spelling
In all professional communication, nothing is more important than a well-written, error-free document. Otherwise, you can create a bad impression, no matter how much professional experience you have.
If your resume has spelling errors, the information it contains may not even be taken into account.
Check the spelling of your resume well and read it aloud to see if it is written clearly. It should be easy to understand.
Don’t lie or make exaggerated claims
The hiring manager wants the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Some applicants want to make exaggerated claims about their accomplishments. Avoid these kinds of practices and stick to the truth. List your real skills and achievements.
Remember that they may ask you about it later. If you lie, the recruiter will notice the incongruity and that will be deadly for your potential hire.
Your email address
A matter of common sense: Recruiters don’t want to contact you at your current workplace, for obvious reasons. So don’t use your work email address. This is also more secure and confidential for you.
Also do not put the address that has your nickname or a nickname: biker4life, party.boy, princess_angela. These types of addresses denote lack of professionalism. They make you look unserious as a professional.
Use a personal address, but take care that it reflects professionalism:
Your first and last name or your initials plus your last name is the best. For example, if your name is Jessica Alba, you can use something like jessica.alba, jalba, etc.
Create workspace-focused versions of your resume
Applying for a lot of jobs and always submitting the same resume for all cases is a mistake.
Every job is different and requires certain skill sets, experience, etc. Also, remember that the recruiter is looking for a resume that matches the profile required by the company and the particular position.
Having a single resume will not work for all cases.
Make several versions: Try to make several versions of your resume, where the skills and competencies necessary for each position to which you apply are highlighted.
As you can see, your resume is like an advertisement about you. In it, you show your main skills and areas of competence to convince the recruiter that you are what they are really looking for.
If you write your information properly and avoid the aforementioned mistakes, it will be easier for you to get the job you want. Now, get ready for a successful job interview with these tips.
Peter Navarro is responsible for employer branding at Sixt SE. When he’s not at office, he finds solace in writing and reading.… View full profile ›