Resumes for Results
1. What it takes to generate job interviews
2. How to Write Your Resume
3. Twelve Deadly Sins of Resume Writing--Does your resume measure up?

Resume samples:

Resume Sample 1 Resume Sample 2 Resume Sample 3

Twelve Deadly Sins of Resume Writing --Does your resume "measure up"?

  1. Don’t lie or exaggerate. If you are prepared to lie on your resume, be prepared to get caught (and fired)! Employers complain that resumes are often the “best piece of fiction they have ever read”. We often have employers voice concern that many job applicants lie on their resume. Exaggeration, misrepresentation, or even lying on a resume is a deadly sin. Don’t do it --- even a little. Employers ask more questions and do more background screening today than ever before, so when you get caught (and you will), you will likely be fired. Background checks might even happen years after you are hired. Solid facts and verifiable experiences (only) should highlight your actions and accomplishments.

  2. Too wordy. A resume should be one page in length (one side only) if possible, or two pages at the most. Everything not absolutely essential to the reader must be dispensed with; and what is left must be compressed into an understandable and inviting layout. A reader needs to be able to glance at your resume quickly and know what your strengths and experiences are. Don’t make him or her muddle through a lot of extraneous words to get to the good stuff. The fewer the words, the better the resume.

  3. “Me oriented”. Your resume is not a personal correspondence and should not include words like “me” or “I” and prominent use of phrases such as, “I seek”, “my objective”, “I’m looking for”, etc. should be avoided. This should not destroy your ego, but the truth is, employers do not care about your objective. Very simply, people (especially employers) want to know what you can do for them. Would you care if one of the big pharmaceutical companies started off a drug commercial (or ad) with, “our corporate objective is to sell more drugs and increase market share?” Hardly! You must lead off with, and elaborate on why hiring you will directly benefit the reader; play up to what you think are the reader’s objectives for filling this position, and how your skills, education, and work background can solve his/her problems. Benefits to the employer normally include such things as: making the company money, saving the company money, time (etc.), accomplishments or achievements that you received special recognition, your ability (and how) you can help the employer gain more market share, a book of business that you can bring to the table, increasing efficiency, personal training or knowledge from/about the employers biggest competitor and so on. Do your homework. Find out what is important to the employer and show the employer that you have what it takes to not only do the job, but help the company prosper as well. In some cases a copy of the employer’s job description can be obtained before applying. Write your resume around his/her desires, not yours!

  4. Assumes too much reader comprehension. This takes the form of listing and explaining numerous accomplishments, courses taken, computer programs you know, organizations you belong to, etc., not necessarily related to each other, and of no value or interest to this specific employer…….and, assuming that the reader will make all the connections. Do not try to be many things to many people (an understandable mistake, considering you may be out of work and/or desperate for any job). Avoid trying to make an employer “understand” that although you are an Accountant, you can actually do marketing; that even though you are a Chemical Engineer, you can manage a plant; or even though you are a Sales Representative, you have great computer skills. This verges on trying to be many different things to employers and should be avoided.

  5. Contains a lot of unnecessary and confusing information. (This is different from being too wordy). If you are simultaneously an Engineer, PhD and Plant Manager in your resume, believe it or not, you have a problem! The reader will only be confused by all of your talents and education….what exactly do you have to offer, after all? You must be specific; and expert in only one or two areas (one is perfect). Everything in your resume should point up to that single expertise. In advertising, the simplest ad is the best. No ad, no matter how high powered, can sell several products or concepts at once. Neither can a resume. Please see number 11 below for more information on this topic.

  6. Contains salary requirements. This is a big mistake. If you list a salary requirement on your resume, it may appear, to someone who has yet to appreciate your real value, to be significantly higher than the budget allocated for the position. Chances are, if your salary requirements are higher than that amount budgeted, you will not be called in for an interview. On the other hand, if your salary requirements are lower than the amount budgeted for the position, the employer may either feel that you are under-qualified, or, if invited in for an interview (and ultimately hired), your starting salary will almost always be lower than it would have been had you negotiated your salary in person during the final interview.The right thing to do is to first make a favorable impression by selling your credentials and evoke some employer response. There will always be time later (in the final interview) to negotiate your salary requirements; after the company decides it likes you and wants to employ you…..and when you are in a better bargaining position.

  7. Stiff, formal, no-action language. Your resume needs to make bold, strong statements, and the best way to do this is by utilizing action words that describe your accomplishments. Many people, unfortunately, seem to think that written communication must necessarily be formal, circumlocutious, elegant (especially your cover letter and/or personal objective. Often, resumes appear to be written by a college grammar professor, using “big” words, fancy phrases and/or eloquent sentences that are not normal to the job applicant. If you have something important to say, just say it. Don’t try to fancy it up. Try writing in complete sentences and remember that successful resumes must sell. Unless you are applying for a position as a grant writer, or an author, you don’t need to pretend to be more articulate than you are. Instead, you need to spend the time, space and energy on selling your successful background, education, skills or track record. Words like “coordinated”, “accomplished”, “completed”, “led”, “analyzed”, “developed”, “executed”, “initiated”, “implemented”, “achieved” “saved” will spice up your resume and make it more interesting and relevant to the reader. While the use of action words are important, it is also key to make sure that you have variety in your resume. Don’t pick a couple of words and stick with them throughout the entire resume. Don’t be afraid to use your thesaurus.

  8. Includes personal information. As mentioned above, you do not have much room in a resume, so why take up valuable space with information unrelated to the position you are seeking? Unless your hobbies or interests are directly relevant to your job, they should be eliminated from your resume. If you are unmarried, many people will consider you “unstable”. If you are divorced, many people will think that you cannot maintain an important relationship. If you are married, possibly with a child or two, many people will think that you may not be willing to work extra hours when necessary, relocate to another city, or perhaps be as actively involved in after-hour company projects or events. If you pursue a lot of extracurricular activities, many employers may wonder whether this job will hold your interest. If you are actively involved in church, many people that don’t share your conviction may be turned off. Bottom line, there is simply no way for you to win! So, keep the personal “stuff” off of your resume. Also keep in mind that the law prohibits a company from requesting personal information, so by all means, don’t offer it! For an amplification of specific items or information that should not be included in your resume, please see page on “How to write your resume”.

  9. Writing your resume to sound like a series of job descriptions. Reword sentences to focus on accomplishments, not tasks. You need to give the employer an idea of what you have done throughout your career, but instead of focusing on duties, list your accomplishments along with quantifiable facts to back up your claims. Saying that you were individually responsible for a 20% growth in sales is much more impressive if you can tell the reader how you accomplished this; and, this kind of information always gets more attention than simply stating that you successfully managed a sales team.

  10. Poor formatting or formatting that is too flashy. While the most important part of your resume is content, there is no question that the overall look of your resume is also critical. You must insure that your resume is a clean, polished looking document. We recommend that all resumes be margin justified. Use consistent formatting for headings and bullet points. Steer clear of flashy formatting or overly creative resumes with unconventional fonts or graphics unless you are seeking a creative or artistic position. Stick to the classic fonts like Times New Roman or Arial. These fonts are typically read well by electronic scanners and most email systems, as well as the human eyes. Don’t overdo the underlining, bolding and the use of italics.

  11. Don’t write a “one-size fits all” resume. There is not such thing as a generic resume that can be used for many different kinds of jobs. Every resume needs to be customized to fit each and every opening. Take the time to do it! If you want a good job bad enough, you will always re-write your resume to fit the job! For example: Never send a Sales Manager a resume that shows your interests in perusing an Administrative career. Instead, tailor your resume (if you have the necessary skills, education, training and experience) to the specific job that you are applying. Take the time to do any research necessary to find out what specifically the employer is looking for; then, and only then, can you bring out those skills, experience and qualities that you have that closely resemble the employer’s needs.

  12. Typos and other spelling or grammatical errors. Before you print your resume, please make sure that you do a "spell check". Have your parents, colleague or teacher proofread it several times for poor grammar, typos and/or spelling mistakes. If a typo or misspelling is found, most employers won’t give your resume a second thought and will automatically toss it. To them, it is clear evidence of the quality of work you will also perform for them.

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