From a blog cleverly titled Position Ignition, a really good article on 3 top resume mistakes that can destroy your job search. Read the original article here.
Here are the 3 mistakes – paraphrased in my own words.
(1) Focus on duties rather than accomplishments.
If you’re over 16, you no longer have “duties.” You have responsibilities. Your resume focuses on accomplishments. In my Guide To Your Job Search, I suggest that you write up your accomplishments as
– What was the problem
– What did you do
– What was the tangible result
For tangible results, did you save money? Allow the organization to reduce the number of employees? Reduce the amount of time necessary to get the job done?
I don’t recommend a skills-based resume or functional resume. Employers hate them. You can write up your accomplishments to emphasize the skills you will be using in the job you are seeking.
(2) Keep it short (but not too short).
These days your resume will be skimmed and scan rather than read with care. Sometimes a screener (who’s not particularly familiar with what you do) will be assigned to screen resumes. You’ll need to use keywords and power phrases to get past the first cut.
At the same time, your resume should be used only in connection with networking. Your job search should focus primarily on making contacts and only secondarily on answering ads and working with recruiters. Any time you send a resume to an ad, where you’ll be screened along with hundreds of others, you’re entering a crap shoot.
In my experience, employers will read longer resumes IF
– they learn about you through a contact;
– you have 5 to 10 years of experience (or more);
– your resume is well-written, engaging, and indicative of your ability to help this particular company. Employers read with a question, “What will you do for me as soon as you get on board?”
(3) Omit irrelevant information.
If you’re a mid-career executive, your future employer probably won’t care where you went to high school and what you did in college. If you are establishing a connection, of course, you can modify this rule. For instance, suppose you live in Chicago and you’re applying for a job in Florida. Your prospective employer might be pleased to see that you went to high school or college in Florida because you’ve got a connection to the area. Of course, if they’re doing a national search, they won’t care: they want skills.
Include hobbies and personal information but be strategic. “Reading” is a great hobby but if you’re applying for a sales position, you will be advised to show your action-oriented hobbies and adventures.