Three Critical Resume Mistakes … and How to Correct Them

It sounds like something of an urban legend…

People used to be able to walk into a place of business with a piece of paper called a resume, meet with the employer on the spot and leave with a job.

But…it really used to happen…If you didn’t experience a similar scenario, chances are someone you know did.

Since the beginning of our recent economic crisis, the way resumes are created and how they are used has become a huge source of frustration for job seeker and employer alike. The days of it being appropriate to condense your employment history down to one page, choose some flowery language that spoke of how you were seeking to improve your skills in the right environment, list where you worked, when you were there and what you did are LONG over…but I still see remnants of these “old school” resumes on a daily basis.

I am sure you all know that there cannot be any grammatical errors in your final copy, so we are going to skip right to the less common, and more challenging, ones that employers take very seriously when screening candidates.


 MISTAKE #1: Your resume includes an Objective Statement.

WHY: Prospective employers need to understand your value in order for them to continue the screening process. If you can’t quickly and clearly establish what you are able offer them, they will move on to other candidates.

SOLUTION: Use key words to showcase your unique selling proposition and grab your readers’ attention.

Option #1: Sales Manager

Option #2: Operational Efficiency | Talent Development | Relationship Management

Option #3: Creating, Planning and Executing Technology Solutions to Deliver Breakthrough Results

MISTAKE #2: Your resume looks like a collection of job descriptions.

WHY: Prospective employers need to know what impact you made on previous employers. If you can’t demonstrate that, they will move on to other candidates.

SOLUTION: Present the accomplishments you’ve generated for the company or department.

Quantitatively (#, %, $ or by some other measurement):

…Or qualitatively (the results of your actions):


MISTAKE #3: Your resume is almost entirely bullets or entirely paragraphs.

WHY: Prospective employers need to know what to focus on. If you aren’t able to guide them, they will move on to other candidates.

SOLUTION: Write your responsibilities in a few sentences within paragraph form:

Consult with management to ensure successful delivery of products on time and within tight budgetary guidelines; develop and implement procedures that comply with local, state and federal policies.

…And showcase your accomplishments with no more than 5 bullets in a row:

By now, you should see that the mistakes and pitfalls I’ve mentioned center around communicating how you will benefit your future employer. That is KEY. Once you identify that, the rest of the resume should be relatively easy to write. I hope this article helps you focus more effectively, reduce your frustration, get more interviews and, ultimately, secure the right job for you.

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