Is your resume slacking off or working for you?
You and your resume can be best friends or secret enemies. If you are looking for career shift you have already realized that job hunting IS a full-time job! Time is precious and so are great career opportunities. You definitely want to get that phone call, but what if your resume is secretly sabotaging your career change aspirations? You can’t afford to waste valuable time and your resume could be contributing to the reasons your resume isn’t getting a response.
When you Google “resume mistakes” you will get the gambit when it comes to opinions about resumes. As a career coach: here are the top five common mistakes I see qualified, smart professionals make. These common blunders will ensure your resume isn’t considered – especially if you apply online (and most job seekers do!).
1. Contact Info in the Header & Footer
Adding a formal ‘header’ or a ‘footer’ to your resume to hold your contact information seems like a perfectly logical thing to do. The problem is, some ATS (applicant tracking system) software will not recognize a Word Document formatted ‘header’ or ‘footer’. The software will not translate your contact information into the ATS system. You’re sending a resume with no contact information!
Top Tip: An online-specific (ATS friendly) resume can increase your chances of being seen by a real person by 45%.
If you are submitting a .pdf file it’s not an issue, but not everyone uses (or will accept) a .pdf file. Also, the import of a .pdf file into an ATS system can be messy at best. You might think that because you had to re-enter your contact information anyway, the company has it. However, even if you meet the job match criteria, your resume is often just printed out from whatever the ATS system captured. Lose the header and footer on your resume!
2. Lack of Focus
In order to attract the employers you want, you must have a target to aim for! Resumes that label you as the ‘jack of all trades’ won’t do you any favors. Hiring managers and recruiters are looking for professionals that can demonstrate a focus. Without a target, you will sound wishy-washy or unsure of what you really want to do.
It cost money to onboard employees and companies don’t want to spend money on someone that doesn’t know what they want out of their career. Your resume needs to have a clearly demonstrated focus on where you want to go professionally and why they should hire you – the rest of the document is simply supporting information.
3. No Value Statement
A resume will hook a hiring manager’s attention when you talk about what you can do for your potential new employer. Why should they hire YOU? Many highly skilled professionals struggle to clearly communicate their value. Their resume is an obituary, only focused on the past with no mention of what they capable of. Most traditional resumes include an ‘Objective Statement’ or ‘Summary’ at the top of your resume. This is usually a place to stuff a ton of keywords and over-used acronyms. Ditch the summary for a sales pitch about what value you can bring to the table!
4. Being Too Wordy
Formatting your resume to squeeze every last drop of information into two pages with tiny margins and tiny font will guarantee that it will never be read. Resumes get about 3-5 seconds to make an impact and some HR managers will simply dismiss ‘wordy’ or overly dense resumes out of hand. A good resume must have a reasonable amount of white space and most importantly: be readable! An experienced professional can go up to, but no more than, three pages in their resume body.
Resumes must be relevant to your target job focus. Don’t be afraid to leave off unsupportive early career information. Verbiage matters! Ensure that your resume has a good flow through your roles and into your accomplishments. Have section headers to make it easy to find specific information. Whatever you do: bullet point only impact statements or accomplishments! A resume with 1,000 bullet pointed list of ‘stuff’ is exhausting and lacks depth.
5. No Impact Statements
Everyone has accomplishments but not everyone realizes what these are! Accomplishments are key towards highlighting your impact in your professional career. Impact statements are hugely important in today’s competitive job market. Your accomplishments are not just awards. Anything you did to improve the business you worked for (even if it was a part of your role) is an IMPACT.
I commonly see a statement like this:
“Led a cross-functional team through a strategic improvement project in warehouse receiving, staging, and material housing.”
Nothing in this statement helps the reader understand the impact of what was done. Congratulations on your project, but what difference did it make and was it successful? Who was involved and did anyone actually benefit? Now, compare the statement above with the impact statement below:
“Led a cross-functional team through a strategic improvement project in warehouse receiving, staging, and material housing that eliminated unwanted scrapping of aged material by 73%, and improved inventory accuracy by 61% as well as saved an estimated $3,000,000 in operational costs annually.”
An IMPACT STATEMENT will change the reader’s reaction from “How” to “WOW”.
By demonstrating your impacts in accomplishment statements for each of your previous positions, the hiring manager will be asking themselves: “Wow, can this person do this for our company??”
Get the Response You Want
You want your resume to be working hard for you – not slacking off and being ignored. Remember to develop your impact statements that validate your ROI to an organization and express your value. Over 90% of the resumes I see have absolutely no value-statements. You are an accomplished, smart, experienced professional that deserves to get the response for the career that you desire!