- Candace Dantes For the AJC
You've been online job hunting for some time now − for six months or even a year − but you've had no callbacks. No follow-ups. No feedback that you're the right candidate for the thousands of open positions that relate to your skill set.
Well, your resume may be contributing to your not landing a job in the here and now.
"A few things can become resume roadblocks," said Tamara Jenkins, a human resources coordinator in higher education. "Unless you're in the arts, head shots on resumes are a no-no. I also find that people rarely proofread. There's nothing worse than candidates not taking the time to check for grammatical errors." She warns to double-check the salutation on the cover letter as well.
"Please take the time to make sure you're submitting for the correct job, too," Jenkins said. "This includes the objective on your resume. Even McDonald's doesn't appreciate receiving an objective on a resume saying how excited you are for an opportunity for rapid growth at Burger King."
Other reasons why your resume will never, ever, ever trend with employers:
The fonts are dated.
Employers have a lot of candidate profiles to sift through. If your resume layout and font selections aren't easy on the eyes or include overused throwbacks (like Times New Roman and Arial) that's an immediate NEXT! Avoid fancy fonts like Apple chancery and typewriter fonts like Courier New as well. Instead, stick with easy-to-scan, balanced fonts like Georgia, Garamond and Calibri.
The format is too complex.
Keep the bolded, bulleted and italicized sections of your resume to a minimum. Yes, you want your resume to have order, but convoluted text only discourages employers from reading more about you. Whether you're presenting a chronological resume (formatting your experience from newest to oldest), functional resume (formatting your experience from most relevant to the open position) or both, focus on the facts in a clear, concise structure.
The word choice, descriptors are either too generic or too specific.
Sell yourself from the top of the resume to the end. Make yourself memorable by highlighting your strengths using details and stating a strong case for why you're the best one-stop shop in your field, especially in your objective statement. Avoid using common phrases like, "My objective is to find a job that fits my skills as a computer programmer." That says absolutely nothing about your worth to employers. And definitely don't take the self-serving route of declarations such as, "To secure a steady job that earns more than $70,000 annually." Instead, pump up your talents by underlining how you can benefit the company in the long run.
The typos are visibly disappointing.
If you meant "their" but spelled it "there," well there goes your chance of getting a callback. Employers are looking for candidates who pay attention to details, no matter the career field. Grammatical errors instantly count you out, so avoid these minor blunders by editing and proofreading (and editing and proofreading some more). Ask a couple of family members or friends to review your work before submitting.
The resume isn't customized to the job description.
Think you can send the same resume to every employer out there without matching your experience to the company's needs? Think again. Employers are looking for candidates that align with certain attributes and experiences outlined in the job posting. If you're sending off resumes that don't include specific buzz words or soft/hard skills, expect nothing in return. Avoid broad resumes that simply scratch the surface of your talent. Instead, study what employers are really searching for in the best candidate and honestly share your professional background in an engaging presentation that corresponds with the job post.