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5 Resume Mistakes That Sabotage Your Job Search

12/09/2015 03:49 pm ET
  • Tamara Star Creator of the 40-day personal reboot for women, Founder TStar Recruiting, Best Selling Author

Imagine yourself standing outside a new restaurant skimming the menu posted to the left of the door.

You're hungry and curious. You know what you're in the mood for, and as your eyes dart through the creatively worded list of specials, you automatically zero in on keywords that peak your interest. Maybe tonight it's freshly caught fish, local free range beef, or organic greens you're craving.

If you happen to stumble upon the words deep fried chicken or heavily battered cod when you're in the mood for fresh and healthy, chances are you'll keep on walking, but if the menu matches the vibe you're wanting, all bets are on your opening that door and taking a seat.

A headhunter matching resumes to open job opportunities is much like your matching your food craving to a restaurant menu. At first glance, it's either a fit or it isn't.

As a job hunter, you've probably spent a lot of time and money to get your resume in tip top shape in hopes of matching the skill set a future employer is seeking.

A good recruiter once intrigued by your resume will call and perform an in-depth interview to further consider you for the job. That is, if they call you.

When headhunters look over a copious amount of resumes during job searches, they're hungry and they're skimming. They aren't initially reading every morsel of your resume, that's for later.

Just like with a menu, once we realize we're not finding what we're craving, we move on and don't ask questions.

Keep your resume marketable by avoiding these top 5 ways your resume gets passed on, or worse, deleted.

1. Putting a summary paragraph at the top.

Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn says:

"The average American attention span in 2013 was about 8 seconds- the average attention of a goldfish is 9 seconds."

Summary paragraphs are outdated and unnecessary, they're literally extra fluff to wade through by someone with an attention span of a goldfish. Your resume should speak for itself. Most people don't read summary paragraphs, they go right to the meat and bones of your resume: where you've worked and what you've done.

2. Leaving out the months on your dates of employment.

Maybe you started your last job in December of 2010 and left in January of 2011. Do that math. Get the picture? Months matter.

When you leave out parts of your history, hiring managers begin to wonder what else you're hiding. Do this with every job on the resume, (which is the case for most who do this in the first place) and you're deleted. Details matter.

3. Hiding anything.

People who are good at what they do tend to go on their gut feelings. Ask any successful CEO or person in a place of power, sometimes factual points aren't enough to make a decision, gut feelings are invaluable. Successful people know when you're hiding something, they feel it.

Let me remind you: in today's digital world, it's impossible to hide ANYTHING.

The truth always comes to light, so it's far better to include a job gap, lack of degree, or short tenure than to attempt hiding it. The minute you're caught hiding something, your credibility goes right out the window - regardless of explanation- Poof!

Reasonable people understand that life happens, so be upfront and honest on your resume.

4. Making things complicated.

Putting your achievements in one clump at the bottom or top of your resume is a bad decision. If we lose interest early on, the bottom of your resume may not even be seen.

Time is everything on a search. No one has time to cross check which jobs you've had with which achievement on an initial resume read, so make it easy.

List your achievements and awards bullet by bullet under each appropriate job and title.

Don't create long paragraphs of explanation, keep it concise and to the point.

5. Creative writing.

Don't try to make yourself into something you're not.

Put your working title on the resume. If you're a sales rep carrying a business card with the title of Regional Manager, admit you're a sales rep on the resume. If you're a 1st level Regional Manager responsible for sales reps, please say so versus using an Area Director title regardless of your business card.

"There's nothing more frustrating than having your time wasted thinking you're about to call one type of employee, only to find out you're not".

This same rule applies to age. If you're over 50, don't leave off your degree date in hopes of hiding it. If you're going to be age discriminated, they're going to eventually do it on a face to face interview. You wouldn't want to work for that type of company anyways.

According to MSN Money, national workplace expert Lynn Taylor says: "Trust is like oxygen in the workplace: we need it to survive".

Your achievements and hard work over the years should stand on their own merit. Don't hurt your credibility by trying to bluff your way into an interview.

Sending out resumes and hoping to be called is a daunting task. Don't let your resume cheat you out of a fair shot.

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