A Bad Resume Can Cost You Thousands

by hwrjoel Sunday, June 19, 2011
One of the primary goals of a resume is to get an interview. The goal of the interview, then, is to get the job. If you are a superstar in your field, you might be recruited by professionals, but inevitably the company will request that you send them a resume, even though they know who you are and what you are capable of.

If you are not a superstar in your field or industry, or have not worked long enough to build a solid reputation, then a resume is the first and possibly *only* way that the business will get to know a little bit about you and decide whether you warrant a closer look or even an interview.

•    A great resume can get an okay candidate a job interview.

•    A good resume can get a good candidate a job interview.

•    A bad resume can keep a good candidate or even an excellent candidate from getting an interview at all.

Major Faux Pas and Mistakes that Could Have Been Avoided

You wrote what you thought was a perfect resume. You printed it on quality paper and sent it in well before the deadline. You have all of the qualifications that were included in the posting and have all the experience and education that should make you a shoo-in. However, you do not get a phone call for an interview.

At the end of the week, you call and find out that your resume was received and that you had been in the running, actually in the top of the pack but there was a problem with your phone number.

One of the biggest problems that a resume can have is with simple human error. While you can run a spell check on your finished resume, it will do no good if you have transposed the numbers in your phone number or made any other error in your contact information.

How will the employer contact you if you have given them the wrong phone number or email address? What is the message that you are sending to the employer if you do this on your resume?

Other mistakes that can keep you from getting an interview, even when you are very well qualified for the position, include such things as sending the wrong resume to the wrong company, listing the wrong dates for employment or other major errors that should be caught during your proofreading.

One of the most common mistakes can be mixing up the cover letter and resume, sending a targeted resume for one position with a cover letter obviously meant for another position.

Choosing the Wrong Format

There are several types of resumes to choose from. The three basic formats are reverse chronological format, functional format and hybrid format. From these three, other formats have developed, but these are the basic building blocks of them.

By choosing the wrong format for your resume, you fail to highlight the positives and may inadvertently put the focus on your weaknesses instead.

While the majority of resume readers like the reverse chronological format because it is easy to read, it can be a format that is a little unforgiving on the new graduate or anyone who is looking to start a new career after years of another type of industry. For some people, it is more important to find the right format than for others.

Trying to Follow the Length Rules

Another major problem that can result in a bad resume for even a great candidate is the myth that all resumes should be one page. While a new graduate or someone who has only had a few jobs will be able to manage their information effectively in a single page, other job seekers will need far more room to get all their information listed correctly.

A high school graduate who has had one job scooping ice cream can get away with a good one-page resume; a doctor cannot.

According to Resumes for Dummies, the guideline for one-page resumes is for the benefit of human resource staffers who want to screen as many applicants as possible. Yes, a one-page resume is great for the HR department, but it might be shortchanging the applicant in a number of ways.

The best advice to follow for the length of your resume then is to use whatever gives you the best amount of information without getting carried away and without having to shortchange things that really are important.

Falling for the Lure of Gimmicks to Get Noticed

A great candidate stands out from the crowd based on accomplishments and credentials, not because they sent in a resume on a pink butterfly. If this resume gets thrown away before your accomplishments are even noticed, it was not worth the gamble, was it?

Save your quirky personality and flair for after you are settled in at the job, not when you are trying to make a good impression and get that initial interview. Your resume should be truthful and accurate. It should highlight your strengths as they relate to the specific job opening.

There are a number of gimmicks and tricks that may have worked a time or two, but in the majority of cases, these are ignored or worse, give a negative impression.

Stick to classic resume paper and business envelopes. Eventually you can have your place as the creative person in the workplace, but for now, you have to just get noticed.

Not Doing Your Research Beforehand

You can take an okay resume to the level of great resume with a little bit of research. Know exactly what the company is looking for and who they have hired in the past. You can do this by looking at the company’s profile on sites such as Linkedin.com which can show you the schools that the company recruits from and what companies that employees move on to after leaving.

If you are not willing to do your research, your resume will reflect it and you will look lazy and ill prepared.