Ditch 5 Resume Blunders

Published: Sep 05, 2013

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September 5, 2013

To avoid having your biotech resume land in the reject pile, avoid these five resume mistakes.

By Michelle Wong for BioSpace..com

The typical hiring manager spends about 10 to 20 seconds reviewing each resume so this means that within these few seconds, you must turn the employer "on" otherwise you will not make the cut. To avoid having your resume land in the reject pile, avoid these five resume mistakes which will turn biotechnology and pharmaceutical employers "off."

1.Wrong job position

Having the wrong job position listed at the top of your resume will turn the employer off from the start. Be sure to double-check the job title you are applying to on your resume otherwise the employer may think you used a “cookie cutter” template instead of taking the time to create a tailored one.

If you decide to use a template cover letter or resume to apply for a job, check that the job title matches the job title before submitting it. For example, if the job position you are applying to is "Pharmaceutical Sales Representative,” make sure that this title matches what is on the resume.

A resume should be succinct, clear, and logical. Like a human skeleton, a resume should be able to support itself. Avoid having your resume appear disjointed by making sure that your work history is in chronological order and that the most important information is at the top of your resume. If your resume has work history dates shuffled rather than in reverse chronological order, the employer may feel that you are unorganized.

3. It’s too hard to decipher

Remember to think like a busy employer and to respect the employer’s time. Keep in mind that he or she is taking time away from their busy schedule to review your resume. If your resume lacks readability, he or she may not be able to digest what you are trying to convey and give up on reading your resume altogether.

To avoid this, make sure your resume is easy to read. Create distinct categories and avoid blending in your job duties with your accomplishments.

For example, instead of listing “Aimed to maximizes sales and contribution goals by 70-90%,” as part of your job duties, consider writing “Maximized sales and contribution goals by 70%,” in a separate Accomplishment category. Most employers may be more interested in your accomplishments than your required job duties.

In addition to separating categories, another tip to increase readability is by using bullet points rather than long sentences and paragraphs. If your resume contains long paragraphs, the employer may easily trash your resume because there isn’t enough time to read everything. Make the employer’s job easy by keeping your sentences short and sweet.

4. Being too creative

Although having your resume look as presentable as possible is important, avoid being overly creative. Stay away from logos and profile pictures in your resume -- this may be good for a sales position, but not most other jobs. By adding a profile picture, you will be revealing your race, gender, and even your weight to the employer almost immediately. Although employers are supposed to be “equal opportunity employers,” like most of us, they can discriminate, too.

5. Lies and more lies

There’s no reason to lie on your resume unless you want to take the risk and suffer the short-and long-term career consequences that may ruin your integrity and credibility as a healthcare professional. Avoid exaggerating your credentials and also remember that employers do verify resumes by routinely conducting background checks and online research.

Follow these five tips to help prevent your resume from being tossed into the reject pile. Remember to double-check that you have the correct job title (as advertised in the job ad) and your resume is organized so it’s easy to read. Also, avoid using logos, profile pictures, and exaggerating your credentials.

About the Author

Michelle Wong researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.

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