In June this year, I published a blog post on mistakes that do-it-yourself resume writers make, including mistakes with numbers, punctuation, spelling and factual information. Lately I’ve seen a few more mistakes which would be easy to avoid or fix:
- Overloading the resume with exclamation points (!) and adjectives. Exclamation points have no place in a resume (unless they are part of a title). Adjectives are fine in limited amounts (“strong leadership skills…”) but it is far better to demonstrate your value through accomplishments. Look at this example:
DIY Mistake: “Superior turnaround expert with excellent IT leadership skills and unmatched ability to understand business goals.”
Improvement: “Increased visitors to XYZ’s website 130% in the first quarter by refocusing a struggling IT team efforts from website upgrades to complete redesign.”
- Exaggerating your role or the importance of your contribution. Yes, accomplishments are extremely important in a resume but they have to be in line with your role. Whether in the interview or through their own contacts, the company is very likely to find out that you exaggerated. Your true abilities will also become clear once you are hired; and that could lead to being fired.
- Believing that it’s the reader’s responsibility to know what you mean. Whether you work in a high-tech field or a company that loves acronyms or you have fallen in love with management jargon, you must drop your prejudices and write in clear, everyday English. Look at this example:
DIY Mistake: “Developed CXO relationships to capitalize on proactive NPI for BUs in EMEA.”
Improvement: “Developed relationships with chief executive officers to capitalize on new product introductions (NPI) for business units in the East, Middle East, and Asia (EMEA).”
- Once acronyms are properly introduced, it’s fine to use them throughout. But no one is going to take the time to puzzle out what you mean. Moreover, you may be missing an opportunity if, for example, the applicant tracking system may be primed to look for “Middle East” but not for ME. It is good to put in both the full name along with the acronym in parentheses the first time you use it, such as “Middle East (ME),” and then use ME for the rest of the resume.
Are you having difficulty keeping adjectives in check on your resume or writing accurately and clearly about your accomplishments? Please contact me today.