Need a job? First you need a resume. A resume is your highlight reel. It’s a snapshot of your experience, education, skills, and achievements. It’s also the first thing that a recruiter looks at when they pick up your application. If you don’t have a resume, you’ll never land a job.
Writing a stand-out resume is hard work, but it’s time well spent when your resume lands you a trip to the job interview round of the application process.
It might come as a surprise, but most recruiters only spend six seconds skimming your resume before they make a decision about you as a job applicant. Take a look at this post from Business Insider that looks at where a recruiter looks on a resume during those valuable seconds. Incredible.
Knowing that you don’t have very much time to impress a recruiter means that every square inch of resume real estate is important. It also means that you absolutely do not want to include anything that recruiters will hate seeing on your resume.
When you’re picking and choosing what to add and subtract from your resume, remember that recruiters hate seeing the following things:
- Photos or Pictures – Images are not important. It shouldn’t matter what you (or your dog) look like. Ditch the pictures. Stick with text.
- Objective Statements – While there is some debate over objective statements on resumes, we say ditch it. Usually it is too specific or too vague to be of any use.
- Unrelated Experience – If you have plenty of space, you can ditch some of your unrelated experience. For example a resume for a software engineering job doesn’t need to include your grocery bagging job in high school.
- References – If a recruiter wants references, they will ask for references. Don’t tell them you can supply them. You’re going to have to when its time anyways.
- Overly Creative Designs – Ditch the fancy fonts and flashy design. Stick to a simple, readable resume. The only time to break this rule is if you are applying for an artsy, creative job, but even then there are still limits.
- Personal Details – Keep the resume professional. Ditch the superfluous personal details. There’s no need to share how many goldfish you have, that you are an extreme frisbee golfer, or that you are fascinated with aliens. Stick to the professional aspects of your life if you want a job.
- Basic Skill Lists – Highlighting your skills is important, but often recruiters will know your skill set based on your previous jobs. There’s no need to list skills that aren’t job specific or are very basic.
- Unexplained Gaps – Recruiters want to see continuous professional development via jobs, volunteer opportunities, internships, etc. If you have gaps in your resume, you need to be able explain them in your cover letter.
- Paragraphs/Complete Sentences – Bullet points, action verbs, proper spacing, and appropriate use of white space are key components of resume design. Resumes are not small novels – ditch the paragraphs and sentences. Make it easy to skim.
- Spelling Mistakes – Take the time to send your resume through spelling/grammar check programs. Proofread it. Then proofread it again. Have your friends read it. It needs to be error free.
- Social Media Profiles – Don’t include links to your social media profiles (unless it’s job specific). Recruiters will check your social media profile if they deem it necessary. There’s no need to include it at this stage of the job search – and most likely there are things online you don’t want recruiters to see.
- Lies – Honesty is the best policy. If you include a blatant lie on your resume, such as the fact that you are the CEO of Ford or the inventor of bananas, you’re not going to get invited to a job interview.
- Work Email Address – If you’re searching for a job while still employed, don’t include your current work email address. Sign up for a free Gmail or Yahoo account. And be sure you have a professional email address, not a goofy one.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re writing a resume. Take the time to write a resume that your proud of – one that highlights your professional career. Customize it to the job you are applying for and do your best to make it recruiter friendly.
It’s always helpful to take your own resume and ask yourself one question, “would you hire this person?” Your resume is important. Make it perfect.
One cool feature of the JobMonkey JobCenter is the free resume manager. When you create a JobMonkey account, you can upload a digital resume that is easy to update and free to send off with every job you apply for on the JobCenter. Hopefully this will help your job search!