Recently I was assisting an employer with the hiring process and reviewed
many resumes that were sent in. I couldn’t help but be concerned that so many
people are not having any job search success because they are using a very poor
resume to represent themselves to potential employers. A poor resume drags out a
search for new employment.
A candidate’s resume typically gets a 15-second glance, if it gets looked at
all. Employers complain that they receive hundreds of resumes for any listed
opening but 90% of the applicants are not qualified to do the advertised job.
In recent hiring trends many resumes are never being seen by human eyes. An
electronic computer scans it, looking at keywords and eliminating all others.
Employers confess to getting so many resumes that the speed of applying is a
hiring factor. Employers told me they look through the resume stack until they
find four or five good ones, call those candidates in for an interview, and may
leave hundreds of resumes unread.
Today it is only a well-written resume advertising accomplishments and past
performance results that gets noticed. Of course you know that, but when I look
at the resumes being sent out to employers I cringe because so many avoidable
mistakes are causing job hunters to be rejected. In my books Winning Resumes and
Winning Cover Letters, we published a survey of over 600 hiring managers to
learn exactly what gets attention and what gets rejected. A few of the major
mistakes revealed included:
- Lying. Employers reported they are on the lookout for the
significant increase in lies or serious exaggerated claims made in people’s
resumes. Common deceptions include accomplishments, salary, or size of the
team managed. Helen, an HR Executive Recruiter inside a prominent company,
wrote on her survey form: “Never, ever, lie. One person I hired lied about
having a college degree when she did not have one. We fired her when the lie
ACTION STEP: Don’t Lie. Most employers catch you in the
interview or when they do reference checks, so inflating your qualifications
into fabrications is NOT the same as using good self marketing to get hired.
- No apparent accomplishments. Employers report that many
people’s resumes are just dull job descriptions but candidates do not list any
kind of results achieved on the job. The surveyed employers heavily criticized
generic resumes as a worthless effort.
ACTION STEP: Results sell! Use specific facts noting
demonstrated skills, and past accomplishments achieved. Our formula for
success is using actions=results bullets that command attention. Be sure to
include figures on how large, how many, what you did, and how it turned out.
Stress actions that resulted in an increase in revenues, and any cost or time
- Lengthy resume. Surveyed managers reported that resumes
only get a 15 second review. “More is not better,” noted Martha, an HR
Director. “Long careers often travel into numerous pages and important
accomplishments get lost. We won’t read anything beyond a page especially with
so many people applying.”
ACTION STEP: Write a concise one-page resume noting top
achievements. Highlight only the relevant recent information related to doing
the targeted job. Use action words to create more powerful sentences.
- Spelling mistakes and use of micro-type. A top complaint
with every manager and HR person in our survey noted: “I stop reading when I
find spelling mistakes.” Employers felt typographical errors reflect the poor
quality of work they can expect from you. Reducing the font size to cram more
into a resume often results in making it harder to read and many employers
noted that they simple skip reading the ones with very small type.
ACTION STEP: Proofread! Perfection is a necessity to
remain competitive. Use size 12 font and a nice layout that is easily read.
Use clean fonts (i.e. Arial) so phone numbers and emails contact information
is easily read.
- No cover letter. Employers report that fewer candidates
today use cover letters since many applicants are just blasting their resumes
everywhere with a quick click on the send button. Surveyed employers stated
cover letters are very influential and can snag an interview by themselves.
They repeatedly noted was that it is a BIG MISTAKE using no cover letter at
ACTION STEP: Take the time to create a targeted letter
addressing the specific employers needs. Opening with a couple sentences that
advertise your top skills and accomplishments is the secret ingredient to
getting your letter read. Then highlight exactly how you can perform the job
and show definitive actions and outcomes.
A great resume is an essential career tool. It sends the an employer this key
message, “I’m a pro in everything I do, and someone you definitely want on your
© Copyright 2005 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.
Robin Ryan is considered America's top career coach
with over 1000 TV and radio appearances including Dr. Phil Show, Oprah, Fox
News, CNN. She is the best-selling author of: What to Do with the Rest of Your
Life; 60 Seconds & You're Hired!; Winning Resumes; and Winning Cover
Letters; and also the creator of the DreamMaker, Interview Advantage and Salary
Negotiation Strategies Audio Programs. Robin has a busy career counseling
practice providing individual career coaching, resume writing services,
interview preparation and salary negotiations consulting to clients nationwide.
A dynamic national speaker, Robin frequently teaches audiences how to improve
their lives and obtain greater success. To purchase her books and audio training
programs or learn more about her coaching services call 425.226.0414, email
RobinRyan@aol.com or click here: www.robinryan.com.