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How to Avoid Resume Clichés


8/26/2011 12:50:01 PM

How to Avoid Resume Clichés By Anish Majumdar, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Resumes are constantly evolving in accordance with recruiter and hiring agent preferences. Elements which landed you interviews even a few years ago can, if used today, lead to an impression of a dated candidate who’s lost touch with what’s currently going on in the jobseeker marketplace. Don’t lose out on interviews through employing resume clichés! Here are 5 frequent offenders and alternatives which will differentiate you from the competition and get that phone ringing:

Problem: The "Objective" Section

This creaky staple of resumes is out-of-date in today’s marketplace. An "Objective" section typically consists of a 1-2 line statement at the very start of your resume telling a reader what you want. The problem? Most recruiters/hiring agents already KNOW what you want: a job! What they’re looking for is evidence of your ability to succeed at it.

Solution: An Opening Paragraph

Instead of an "Objective" section, create a 3-4 line opening paragraph describing key skills that are in demand for the type of position you’re seeking. Research job postings: what skills are requested time and time again (which you possess)? This should form the basis of the opening paragraph. Keep sentences brief and succinct, and avoid listing specific metrics: that’s what the work history section of your resume is for.

Problem: "Career Highlights"

Many jobseekers wanting to establish industry expertise create a "Career Highlights" or similarly titled section listing successes spanning their entire career. This is the one of the biggest traps to avoid. Why? Because recruiters and hiring agents STRONGLY DISCOURAGE standalone sections like this as it obscures a clear understanding of a candidate’s work history. They’re not interested in seeing a few bullet points that could pertain to any position and any employer. They want to get an accurate picture of your career to this point.

Solution: "Key Accomplishments" For Every Relevant Position

Problem: "References Available Upon Request"

How many times have you seen this phrase pop up on resumes? Recruiters and hiring agents are as bored by it as you are. Whereas once listing this phrase was a sign of a serious candidate, today it’s a given.

Solution: Remove the “References” line in favor of a separate document listing them.

While removing the “References Available” line is a good idea for your resume, that doesn’t mean references won’t play a part in whether you actually land the job. Create a document listing the names and contact information for each of your references, and take them along with you to interviews.

While resume standards are constantly evolving, the value of an experienced, ambitious candidate never will. Stay abreast of the changes and make sure your resume offers a taste of the expertise you can bring to table. Best of luck!

About the Author

Anish Majumdar is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Owner at www.ResumeOrbit.com. 95% of clients report a significant increase in interviews within 30 days, and all work comes backed by a 100% Satisfaction or Money Back Guarantee (in writing).

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