Repeat Offenders, Part 2

The top ten mistakes job seekers make in their resumes, continued.

Welcome back! I hope you’ve taken the time to update and polish your resume with the tips we’ve discussed so far. Here are the final 5 resume mistakes to round off our list of the top 10 most common infractions in resume writing. Upcoming posts will examine specific sections of the resume piece-by-piece with ideas on how to put them all together to create a resume that grabs the reader’s attention and lands the interview. (Don’t forget to click on “Sign me Up!” on the right of the page to subscribe to my blog via email for updates delivered right to your inbox!)

1.   What’s your name again?

You’ve crafted a beautiful resume, uploaded it to an online job board, and suddenly your contact information disappears. Why? Because you misused the First Page Header. Placing critical information, such as your name, in the header on page one is a big mistake. Most online job boards don’t process or “read” headers or footers, so that means the ATS and the HR manager on the other end won’t either. Make sure your contact information is in the body of your document, NOT in the header.

2.   Natalie is a writer.

Writing in third person about yourself is not only a bad choice on a resume¾it is awkward and inappropriate in almost all forms of communication.  After learning that one shouldn’t use first person pronouns on a resume, many job seekers opt to write in third person, which is worse. Employers may start to believe you have multiple personalities:

Mr. Davis is an exceptionally talented and award-winning Architect and Project Manager with 20+ years’ experience in large-scale commercial, residential, and institutional design. Mr. Davis is a seasoned professional with commitment to quality craftsmanship and thorough understanding of materials and constructability. Mr. Davis executes extensive schematics and ensures accuracy and compliance of organizational standards.

See how strange that paragraph reads? Remember, this is YOUR resume and you’re writing about yourself in your own voice. Using third person makes it seem as though someone else has said all these great things about you – if that’s the case, you need a “works cited” page.

3.   The good, the bad, and the ugly (fonts).

Word processing software offers us extensive choices in terms of font styles, however there are only a handful that should be used on a resume. The following are tried-and-true fonts that are attractive, easy to read, and universally compatible:

I know it’s tempting, but do not use highly decorative and “expressive” fonts that are unprofessional, distracting, and challenging to read:

4.   Long walks on the beach…

The iHire Resume Team sees quite the variety of interests and hobbies on the resumes we critique and rewrite: knitting, karate, ancestry, fixing old cars, staying in shape…

And even highly personal information: gender, age and/or birthday, spouse and children’s names/ages, religious and political views, dietary preferences…

And the list continues.  99% of the time your interests and extracurricular activities will NOT be relevant to your career objective, so don’t use up valuable space on your resume telling employers how you like to spend your free time. Bring up these subjects during the interview if you identify a common interest with the interviewer.

5.   Remember when…

Ageism (n: 1. discrimination against persons of a certain age group) is a very unfortunate yet very real obstacle for today’s job seeker. With so many candidates to choose from in the applicant pool, employers can be as picky as they want, knowing chances are the exact candidate they’re looking for is in their resume pile¾the right location, the right salary requirements, the right education, the right experience, and the right age.

Does your resume tell the reader how you old you are, or how old you could be? Do you have years listed from earlier than 1995? Do you include graduation dates earlier than 2005? Do you mention “30+ years of experience” in your summary?

While you can’t change your age or experience level, you can employ a few strategies to make sure you are judged on value offered and nothing else. Drop “incriminating” years, shorten extensive  timelines, even leave off outdated software or technologies – remember, this document’s purpose is to get you an interview, not tell your complete history.


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