Resume & CV Writing

The dynamic job market of today keeps changing and what was required on a resume a few years ago could be the show stopper today. To roll with the punches the clever job seeker has to be flexible and prepared to adapt, this goes especially for your resume. Resumes are living documents and will change over time, just like you should. The devil is most often in the detail and are you confident that your resume will do you justice?

Signs that tell you it’s time for a little resume makeover:

1. The title is… Resume

Even if you use the fancy spelling and call it résumé, it’s not going to do you any favours as recruiters and HR people look at 100s of resumes per day and yours won’t stand out. In fact, in can be rather annoying for them as they have to change the titles themselves sometimes. Make the title your name and make sure the file name is your name as well.

2. It’s one page only

Not sure who came up with this recommendation in the first place, I have friends who had a one page document for years. Your resume should obviously be concise and to the point but one page does make it look like there is a page missing and probably left in the printer. The rule of thumb is, the longer the career, the longer the resume so go ahead and fill out what you have done and if it lands at 2 full pages that is fine (as long as it’s relevant information).

3. You have included age, height, weight, and marital status

These personal details have no place in your resume, if it’s on your profile you might be accused of ageism and other unpleasant things. Make sure to remove.

4. You have a photo

A photo on a resume is a bit weird somehow, it comes across as the person is using their looks to secure a job. And most often the photo will not be great and therefore do more harm than good to an applicant. There are of course exceptions to this rule, in case you are in TV, modeling, entertainment etc you can get away with it. You will be told when a photo is required on a resume and by default it is not.

5. Your resume lacks social media contact details

I will assume you have your phone number and email address on your resume. That’s great but to indicate how tech savvy you are, you will want to include your public Linkedin and other professional networking details. Facebook and Twitter are optional; only include these if they are employee friendly. In case you have a blog, put the URL on your document as long as your blog looks professional and it’s consistently updated.

6. You break out objectives

It is pretty obvious that you are seeking more knowledge and experience in the career path you have chosen. One major clue was you applying for this particular job. Writing about what you want is doing it the wrong way around. You should focus on what you can do for the company, tune in to their WIIFM and entice them to get you in for an interview. The cover letter is an excellent place to tell the world your reasons for wanting this job.

7. You have listed all your jobs

Having longer experience than other candidates no longer guarantees you the job. Back in the day that might have been the case but in today’s economy it’s the individual with the most relevant skills to do the job that is in pole position. You should refrain from listing your jobs that have no relevance to the position you applied for. What you could do is grouping the all together under Various Jobs and simply list the titles.

8. Terminology

Try not to describe yourself in job specification language; duties, tasks, responsible for etc. You will want to focus on your accomplishments, which is much more interesting reading and will sell yourself better.

9. References available (and happily supplied on request)

No need to write that in your resume, it’s only wasting space. Surely this is implied when you apply for a job anyway? If you want to show off you references, write up another document with the people, titles, how you know each other and be ready to hand this over when it will really help you, perhaps when you are head to head with only one other candidate. And it’s worth noting that most companies don’t actually check references until the very end of a selection process.

10. Thinking it’s now up to scratch

You resume is a constant live document that need to be fine tuned, tweaked and calibrated. Make a habit out of reviewing it on a monthly basis and benchmarking it against your friends and colleagues to ensure you are on top of your game.

Image: Shutterstock

About Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. 

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