10 Resume-Writing Mistakes to Avoid
Become a member of TranslationDirectory.com at just
$8 per month (paid per year)
your resume generating disappointing results? Have you been
sending your resume for positions that you know you are
qualified for, but the phone remains silent? If so, you
might want to check it and revise it against these ten common
1. Including an objective statement that tells the
reader what you want.
If there is one major rule to keep in mind as you write
your resume, it is that all of the content should be written
to be employer-centered. Objective statements that tell
the reader what you want are inherently self-centered. The
more modern way of providing focus for your resume is to
include a summary or profile section. A profile is fundamentally
different from an objective in that it is employer-centered,
conveying to the reader what you offer them, rather than
what you want from them.
2. Writing your resume to be intentionally broad
Many people will write a broad resume out of fear that focusing
too precisely will exclude them from certain opportunities.
Unfortunately, this strategy almost always backfires. Resume
readers are notoriously lazy and give your resume only a
few seconds at most before making the decision to screen
it out or screen it in. If you are lucky you have 15 seconds
to clearly convey your focus (level and type of position
you are seeking) and how you would add value within their
organization. If your focus is ambiguous and you haven't
made it crystal clear how you will "fit" in the company,
you certainly expect the reader to make the effort to figure
3. Including a generic profile/summary statement.
While it has become common and even expected that your resume
will include a profile/summary statement, far too often
they are just generic statements that do nothing to differentiate
the individual from their competition in the job market.
What is it that differentiates you and make your contributions
to the companies you have worked for better and unique than
your peers? What is the value proposition that you are making
to the reader of your resume? What sets you apart from the
competition and what uniquely qualifies you to meet the
needs and solves the problems of the employer? Additionally,
it isn't enough to tell a reader that you have certain abilities
or traits; you must show them through examples of past achievements.
Prove impact! Forget about cliches and jargon. Soft skills
are often important, but even those should be backed up
by specific accomplishments that illustrate them.
4. Describing your job scope and responsibilities
Think about it: Being "responsible for" doing something
certainly doesn't mean a person does it. What a person is
supposed to do and what they actually do are two different
things. Many people make the mistake of selling features
(responsibilities) rather than benefits (achievements/results)
in their resume. It is very important to place the emphasis
on achievements, quantifying results whenever possible.
Document the ways in which your work have benefited your
employers and quantify whenever possible. By including past
achievements and results, you demonstrate your future potential.
Always remember, you won't get hired for what you know how
to do, you will get hired for what you do with what you
know how to do.
5. Focusing solely on the achievement and forgetting
about the results.
Just telling the reader that you have achievements isn't
very effective unless you present them in terms of the results
and benefits they have produced for past employers. You
should always try to think in terms of the "so what" of
your achievement. What did you improve, save, increase,
enhance, etc? What impact did the work you do have on the
companies? At the root, every single job is designed to
solve a problem, save money, make money, or improve efficiency.
It is crucial that you understand and be able to communicate
the impact of your performance. Whenever you can do so,
you should use numbers to illustrate your results, but even
if you are unable to quantify achievements, the emphasis
should still be on the results/benefits of your work.
6. Writing an autobiographical style resume.
Your resume is a marketing document. It is not an autobiography.
While the decision about how far back to date your resume
really depends on the individual circumstances, generally
it is standard to go back 10-20 years. If experience earlier
than that is still relevant, you can always summarize it
in a couple of sentences without the use of dates. Always
think in terms of relevance and impact. Does a particular
piece of data or achievement support your personal brand
and value proposition? Does it help promote your qualifications
in relation to your current career goals? If not, you probably
should not include it. In fact, by including irrelevant
data, you dilute your focus and make the recipient wonder
if you truly understand the position you are targeting.
If you feel really strongly that particular data may be
relevant to at least SOME recipients, you can always create
an addendum that you choose to use selectively.
7. Including personal information.
If your resume is meant for the U.S. market, it should not
include a photo, your birth date, mention of unrelated hobbies
or interests, info about your family, info that reveals
your religion, or any other similarly personal data. Including
such data in a resume meant for the U.S. market may actually
eliminate you from consideration, as hiring decision-makers
may be concerned about discrimination suits.
8. Using a template design for your resume.
You should never use a template to create a resume. Your
resume should be uniquely designed to highlight your unique
qualifications and selling point and to set you apart from
other candidates. If you use a template (or a format that
looks like a template), you ensure that your resume will
simply blend in with all the rest. To really compel action,
your resume MUST attract immediate attention and present
an unquestionably professional appearance. Create an eye-catching
design, but forego the templates!
9. Using the same structure and resume writing techniques
that you were taught in college ten years ago.
A common error made by experienced professionals is overemphasis
of education. As an experienced professional your history
of accomplishments and proven ability to produce and deliver
results is far more important than your degrees. Only new
graduates with very little or no experience should list
education at the beginning of the resume. The most important
thing is that you prioritize and organize your selling points,
listing categories of primary importance first. The best
structure in almost all circumstances is a combination reverse
chronological order. This includes a profile/summary section,
a reverse chronology of your work history and achievements,
education, and other qualifications such as professional
10. Listing all your achievements in a section separate
from your career history.
It is critical to show progression and a consistent, repeated
ability to produce results. By listing your achievements
separately from your career history, you lose this. Go ahead
and use specific achievements to illustrate the value proposition
and personal branding that you convey in your profile. In
fact, it is crucial that you do so. But, for the most part,
the majority of your achievements are best presented within
the chronological and situational context in which they
happened. In other words, go ahead and include a SUMMARY
of achievements that are selected to illustrate your value
proposition and brand, but the body of your resume should
also include achievements and results that illustrate your
impact in each company or each position.
Do you still feel at a loss about how to improve your resume,
even after reading these tips? If so, consider hiring a
professional resume writer. Hiring a resume writer is an
investment, but it is an investment that will often pay
you back many times over by dramatically shortening your
job search, positioning you to win coveted positions, and
preparing you with the pitch you need to negotiate top compensation.
Nationally certified resume
writer and career coach, Michelle Dumas
is the director of Distinctive Career Services LLC. Through
Distinctive Documents http://www.distinctiveweb.com and her
Executive VIP Services http://www.100kcareermarketing.com
Michelle has empowered thousands of professionals all across
the U.S. and worldwide. Michelle is also the author of 101
Before-and-After Resume Examples http://www.before-and-after-resumes.com
Published - October 2008
Submit your article!
Read more articles - free!
Read sense of life articles!
this article to your colleague!
more translation jobs? Click here!
agencies are welcome to register here - Free!
translators are welcome to register here - Free!
Please see some ads as well as other content from TranslationDirectory.com: