Gone in 60 Seconds: Top Resume Turnoffs

Placement professionals will tell you that resume readers, reviewing hundreds of resumes for each open position, will spend less than a minute on each resume.

Hiring Managers are looking for buzz words, and if you’re not reading the job description thoroughly, you’re in big trouble. If you’re a fit for the role, you should have at minimum, 10 buzz words that align with the role you’re applying for.

Look at your resume as your 30 second black and white commercial. The resume should depict a picture of your accomplishments, as well as “what you’re actually doing!”

Many times we focus on listing accomplishments when, in essence, your resume needs to tell a story.

If you want to intrigue the reader, provide details! Oftentimes, a Hiring Manager will stop reviewing a resume, without having assessed the candidate’s suitability for a position, because something was ‘just not right’ on the resume.

What common resume mistakes could take you out of consideration for a position within 60 seconds?

Here is our Top 5 List:

1. Grammatical/spelling errors. If a candidate is unwilling to take the time and effort to make sure his or her resume is free of grammatical and spelling errors, then what does that say about the quality of work that person will put in on the job? If spelling and grammar are not your forte make sure and have someone who possesses those skills review the resume and all of your pre-employment correspondence.

2. Resume is too long. While many recruiters will tell you the one-page resume is a thing of the past and you may go up to two pages, the three to six page resume was never in vogue and should be avoided. If you have a wealth of experience, focus on what is most related to the position for which you are applying and keep the resume to two pages.

3. A broad all-encompassing objective. Nothing cries desperation more than an objective that says “I’ll take any job as long as it pays.” Your objective should be targeted to the specific position. Many have eliminated objectives completely from their resumes, replacing them with professional summaries and/or core competencies. One-three word core competencies like Global Sourcing or Cost Model Development have the benefit of helping pull your resume forward when search engines are used to identify candidates with specific skills.

4. Lack of meaningful, measurable achievements. Resumes filled with words like “responsible for” and, “duties included” are destined for the recycling bin, while resumes with action and achievement-oriented phrases like “reduced cost by $4.5 mil” and “improved quality by 35%” are going to be more thoroughly read.

5. Poorly formatted resumes. Poorly formatted resumes can be difficult to read and even confusing. Your resume might be reviewed in electronic or printed form. Make sure that it is clear, concise and readable in both formats by using bold type, bullets, and plenty of white space.

In order to avoid these types of issues we recommend:

1. If you are not 100% confident in your grammatical skill, have someone with skills you trust review your resume and all written communications with prospective employers. Suggest printing a copy, and reading it aloud.

2. Select a clean, easily readable format for your resume and stick with it.

3. Customize your resume for each opportunity to bring attention to the most relevant accomplishments and experiences, and to remove items that do not relate to the position.

4. Make sure that your achievements and experience descriptions include a mix of actions, skills, results and challenges.

5. Use a standard font, although your resume is your work of art, limit the flare when selecting a font.

6. Photo or no Photo? I guess it would really depend on the role you’re applying for. Use your best judgement, many Hiring Managers have access to LinkedIn and if they want to see a polished professional, they will view your page.

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