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Career Corner
Little-known Resume Mistakes
Friday, December 30, 2011

Resumes just like anything else tend to evolve over time. Though the changes are slight, there are some things that get confused along the way. Information on resume writing is abundant so it can be overwhelming when finding the right way for you. In all the confusion it's easy to overlook some of the common, yet unknowingly made mistakes that are made. If this coming year you'll be one of the many looking for jobs, here are some ways to get an upperhand on the game.

Your resume is too customized.
It's true that you have a better chance of getting a call back from a recruiter or hiring manager if your resume stands out of the stack of others. But too much of anything is never good. You want too avoid being too much of renegade with your resume as it might end up backfiring. Hiring managers want a resume that peaks their interest without them having to do too much work trying to figure it out. If your resume is just too much to handle either in design, font choice, or format; the person reading it might not even give it the time of day. If you're unable to scan your own resume, neither will anyone else.

You keep it classified from public view.
Don't be afraid to share your resume with a close friend and have them look it over for you. It never hurts to get a second opinion with a fresh set of eyes. Others might be able to catch things you may have missed and give you some feedback on how easy or difficult your resume was to go through. Plus, something that might make sense to you may sound like a foreign language to someone else. Being too self-conscious, or proud even, could end up costing you that next interview.

You didn't bother with a summary statement.
These aren't mandatory but are beneficial. If you have some open space on your resume, a summary statement is a good way to fill it. Writing a summary statement should be customized for each job description, laying out the skills you have that are relevant to the job you're applying for. This is different from a resume objective in that it's more skills and abilities focused whereas an objective pertains to your own goals and interests. Of course, in each summary you'll want to highlight the skills most fitting for the position.

You gave the employer some of what they wanted... and what they didn't.
Employers simply don't have enough time to give each and every resume the attention they require. Resumes typically shouldn't be more than a page long and very direct. They should point out key elements of your experience and background, and leave the blocks of text for your cover letter. Make use of brief sentences and bullet points for your resume, and that way you'll also be able to fit in more relevant information to the job description while still keeping it compact.

You weren't specific in your wording.
Resumes littered with generic language don't give the hiring manager a clear enough idea of who you are--personally or professionally. It's hard to make an impression on the reader if you're feeding them words they're more than full of. Words like, "dynamic" don't really explain much. Also try to avoid repeating yourself, otherwise guarantee that the reader will put your resume over in the "thanks, but no thanks" pile. Being vague means being bland, boring, and blends you in with the rest. To set yourself apart use words that you feel are unique to who you are and accurately describe your qualifications like "ability to work on a tight deadline" as opposed to "fast worker." Be creative with your writing and remember to keep it specific to each employer's needs.
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