The Resume of a Star Candidate

January 6th, 2012

Ever wondered why you go on one interview after the next but never seem to get the job?  Or perhaps you have been submitting one resume after the other but just can’t seem to get a shot at an interview.  Well, this series of blogs, The Making of a Star Candidate, may be just what you need to fine-tune your skills and bring your job search to the next level.

The first post in the series is dedicated to looking at some common errors in the all-important resume.  We’ve picked our brains trying to think of the most common resume blunders we see so we can share them with readers.  Here’s what we came up with:

Not customizing your resume to the role.  This is huge.  Today’s world focuses so much on personal expression and customizing services and items to individual needs.  The job search now takes part in that trend.  Candidates can no longer create one resume to mass distribute, waiting for the phone calls to roll in.  Each job for which you apply requires its own resume.  Look at the job description and specific duties, and consider your background.  Then create resume bullet points that connect your skills and qualifications to the job requirements.

Streamline with bullet points.  Is your resume in paragraph form?  If so, you may be missing out.  Employers see tons of resumes and will likely not find time to slow down so they can read paragraphs of text.  You’ll have a better chance of being read if you break down your dense thickets of text into bullet points.  Start each bullet with an action verb (vary the verb choice throughout) and stick to one topic per bullet.

Typos.  This does seem very common-sense, and perhaps it is.  Regardless, employers receive resumes with typos on a daily basis.  We all know that spellcheck won’t pick up on grammatical errors, and grammar check remains an insufficient substitute for legitimate proofreading.  If you don’t trust yourself to pick up everything, find a fresh pair of eyes.  It can make all the difference in the world.

Listing jobs from 20 years ago.  For the most part, a good rule of thumb is to go back the last 10 years.  If you have really great experience that goes back further than that, it may be okay to include it.  But remember, even if the experience is significant, changes in technology and/or the job market have probably made even significant experience somewhat obsolete, so be sure to think critically and use your judgment.

Unfortunately, some aspects of the job search are beyond your control.  The good news is that the resume—your first impression—is 100% in your hands.  You can make the proactive choice to do a little extra work and make your resume the resume of a star candidate.

5 Responses to “The Resume of a Star Candidate”

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