Caution: Is Your Resume Sending The Wrong Signals?

Published: Mar 06, 2014

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Caution: Is Your Resume Sending The Wrong Signals? March 6, 2014

A resume is your first chance at making a great first impression. Here are three resume missteps that turn employers off.

By Anish Majumdar, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

As a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), I can’t stress enough how important it is for job seekers to thoroughly (and honestly) appraise their resumes prior to submitting for positions. The old saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” is never more true than during a job search. A resume that’s sending the wrong signals to potential employers will rarely result in interviews.

Here are three of the biggest warning signals recruiters and hiring managers look for when scanning a candidate’s resume. If your document has any of the following, step away from the job postings. and invest the time for a resume tune-up.

1. No opening section.

While you may think that a resume that jumps straight into recent positions and education credits is an efficient approach, most recruiters and hiring managers perceive it in a different light: as a candidate who has no clear idea of the type of job he or she wants. This is not a good thing.
    * Start the resume with the EXACT TITLE of the job you’re applying for (in boldface). This is a simple way to ensure your resume doesn’t get lost in the shuffle or mis-categorized. Swap this title out between submissions.

    * Beneath this should come a three to four line opening paragraph highlighting key skills. Focus on abilities you can expand upon within the work history section of the resume. It’s okay to express passion and enthusiasm here, just be sure all of the skills mentioned tie into your job target.
2. Lack of accomplishments.

Simply listing responsibilities for each of the jobs you’ve held is not an effective approach in today’s job market. Employers are looking for candidates with a track record of success. Concrete accomplishments that are relevant to the type of job you’re seeking is the best way to make the cut.
    * Gather information about the last two to four positions you’ve held. Make a note of all possible accomplishments you can take credit for, complete with metrics (if available).

    * When listing these positions within the work history section of the resume, create a “Key Accomplishments” section for each that highlights these successes. Make strategic use of bullets here.
3. Bland wording.
    Nothing makes a recruiter or hiring agent’s eyes glaze over faster than an ineffectively worded resume. Quickly scan yours—what’s the overall impression? Is the resume worded in a way that stresses leadership and ability? Does it get you excited? Or, is it merely a laundry list of skills lacking perspective?

    * Reach out to a select group of friends and professional colleagues and ask if they’d be so kind as to critique the overall impact of your resume. Take their feedback seriously.

    * Execute a re-write or engage a professional resume writing firm to do it for you. Ultimately, the time you invest in tightening up wording can result in significantly reduced job search times and higher salary offers.
About the Author

Anish Majumdar is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Owner at Ninety-five percent 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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