Professionally, I’ve spent quite some time as a Hiring Manager. Personally, I’ve become the resident expert on the hiring process when friends or family begin a job search. The first thing I always offer to review is their resume. Landing your dream job (or even an entry-level position with room for advancement!) begins with a well thought out resume. While I subscribe to the philosophy there is no “perfect” candidate, there are certain items that can disqualify an otherwise great candidate.
To keep yourself out of the discarded pool (where the candidates with typos on their resume go), consider doing the following:
1. REMOVE YOUR GRADUATION YEAR
Listing a college graduation date of 2005 will inadvertently give the Recruiter or Manager an idea of your approximate age. It’s illegal for an employer to ask your age during an interview, and from my professional experience, it’s best to keep age completely out of the equation. Giving your potential employer an idea of your age invites pre-judgment. Instead, let them see you’ve graduated and move on to your experience.
CAVIAT TO THIS: If you’ve recently graduated and are using your graduation year as an explanation for lack of real world experience, it’s acceptable to leave it in.
2. OMIT ADJECTIVES
Not all adjectives in the history of time, but describing yourself as “energetic” or “dynamic” is just silly.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: Action words are an industry favorite. Instead of telling me you’re persuasive, give me an example of when you persuaded a client. Instead of calling yourself a problem-solver, tell me about a time you identified a concern and addressed it accordingly.
3. REMOVE THE WORD “EXPERIENCED”
I have one of two thoughts when I see this word on a resume: 1. “This person is probably not at all experienced.” OR 2. “This person is probably set in their ways.” Either way, bad news for the candidate.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: Your resume should speak to your body of work for the last 10-15 years. By speaking on what you’ve accomplished over your career so far, you will drive home just how experienced you are. Word of note: stay away from the “Proven Track Record” pitfall. There’s no master track record employers are referencing, so this is pointless.
4. REMOVE THE TERM “DETAIL-ORIENTED”
If every person was as detail-oriented as they claim to be, the world would be a better place. There are far too many typo-ridden resumes floating around with this term for it to hold water anymore.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: Actually BE detail-oriented and submit a typo free resume! Sometimes, as a writer, you may not see typos. This is especially true when your typo is still an actual word, such as typing “three” instead of “the.” Consider letting a friend or family member review and give notes.
5. DON’T NAME YOUR RESUME FILE SOMETHING GENERIC
Saving resumes of passing candidates is tedious work. It’s even more tedious when there’s renaming involved. You can only save so many MyResume.docx files before you want to toss your computer out the window.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: Name the file using your name. If either name is over 6 letters, use just your first initial when naming. MIsleyResume.PDF is how I named my resume. If you’re including a cover letter or references, use the same naming convention so the Recruiter or Manager can easily differentiate between MIsleyCoverLetter.PDF and MIsleyReferences.PDF. You’ll become an instant front runner!
6. SAVE YOUR RESUME AS A PDF
You love your resume, right? You finally have it on the correct amount of pages, no typos, and your format is perfection! It would be a shame if something were to…happen to it… But guess what? That perfect resume you made in Word? I’m using Pages and now the formatting is jumbled. Saving your resume as a PDF will make everyone’s life better.
Now go update your resume and apply away, gorgeous! You’ve got this.