Advertising
Advertising

5 Resume Killers and How to Avoid Them

5 Resume Killers and How to Avoid Them

Whether you’re hoping to trade up, switch careers, or transition from school to work, your resumé or CV will likely play an important role in your application process. In a competitive economy, recruiters will often receive hundreds of applications for only a few job openings. If you manage to make the first cut, your resumé will form the basis for a first impression of your candidacy. A good first impression can lead to an interview. A poor one? Well… many of us have been down that road. To help ensure that your resumé makes the first cut and impresses your readers, avoid the following five resumé killers:

1. Not targeting the specific position or industry

The vast majority of hiring managers look for specific, verifiable experience that is relevant to the position they are hiring for. Even well-defined positions often vary from company to company. If you are applying to multiple positions, it is always a good idea to tailor your resumé to each application.

Advertising

At a minimum, your job descriptions should incorporate industry-specific keywords embedded in descriptive material that demonstrates familiarity with the subject. If your prior experience is not directly relevant, you’ll want to do some research to acquire a working knowledge of the position you are applying for and its responsibilities.

2. Using poor formatting

If you are applying to a larger firm, your resumé may be screened by an applicant tracking system. To help ensure that your resumé is not rejected for formatting reasons, adhere to the following rules:

Advertising

  • Do not put content in the header.
  • Avoid exotic fonts. Stick with Verdana, Tahoma, Arial, or Calibri. Use a font size of 11 pt. or higher.
  • Do not paste graphics or use borders.
  • Stick to a one-inch margin on the top and bottom of the page.

At some point, your resumé will be reviewed by a real person, so you’ll want to ensure that your formatting is visually appealing. Avoid a text-heavy approach, use special formatting sparingly, and create adequate spacing between lines to mitigate crowding.

The best resumés create a visual rhythm that allows the reader to effortlessly glean important information and acquire both a general and specific understanding of the applicant’s background. Aim to give the reader that kind of experience.

Advertising

3. Focussing on responsibilities rather than achievements

Most job postings list responsibilities, shouldn’t applicants do the same when describing prior experience? Not exactly. Although focusing on responsibilities is acceptable, that approach does little to suggest how you have fared compared to your contemporaries. Keeping the focus on accomplishments helps to reinforce the suggestion that you consistently over-perform, regardless of your specific role. So when possible, re-frame your responsibilities as specific, measurable accomplishments to show how you added value to your company.

4. Making typographical errors

If you were reviewing two hundred applications and needed an excuse to weed out half of them, wouldn’t typos be an easy place to start? Nothing shows carelessness more than a simple typo, so be sure to review your resumé with a fine-tooth comb before sending it out. Even better, have a trusted colleague, friend, or resumé editor review it for you, as a fresh set of eyes is more likely to catch overlooked errors.

Advertising

5. Being one-dimensional

Most hiring decisions are driven by a combination of the following two factors: experience and personality. Resumés that focus exclusively on demonstrating relevant experience may come across as one-dimensional. You can balance your resumé by carefully selecting a few key experiences and skills that do not directly relate to the job to which you are applying. Unusual hobbies or skills can be used to spark interest, round out your application, and serve as a conversation starter during the interview.

Featured photo credit: flazingo.com via flickr.com

More by this author

college application essay help 4 Sites You Wish Were Around When You Were Applying To College 5 Resume Killers and How to Avoid Them

Trending in Work

1 Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More 2 12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job 3 10 Key Elements of Effective Meetings to Avoid Wasting Time 4 Pick Your Job Based On What You Love To Do, Not How Much You Have Invested In. 5 What Is a Mentor And Why You Should Find One For Yourself?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 23, 2020

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Are you waking up each day looking for that perfect thing, activity, or job that will make your life work? Or, maybe you are looking for that perfect relationship. Once you “get” this new thing that will allow you to do what you love, you are sure that you will be happy forever.

In reality, life doesn’t work like that, and we would probably get bored if it did. There is likely no one thing, experience, or activity that will keep you feeling passionate and engaged all the time. What’s important is staying connected to what you love and continuing to grow in the process.

Here, we’ll talk about how to get started doing what you love and achieving more in life through the motivation it brings. Doing this doesn’t have to take a long time; it just takes determination and energy.

Most People Already Know Their Passion

So many people walk around in life “looking for” their passion. They look for it as if true passion is some mysterious thing that is difficult to find and runs away once you find it. However, the problem is rarely lack of passion.

Most of us already know what we love to do. We know what excites us, even if we haven’t done it for years. Instead, we focus on what we think we “must” do.

For example, maybe you love building model cars or painting pet portraits. Yet, each day you work a completely unrelated job and make no time for the activity you already know you love. The truth is you probably don’t need to find your passion; you just need to start doing what you already know you’re passionate about[1].

Advertising

No Activity Is Exciting All the Time

Even people who are living their dream lifestyle or working their dream job don’t love it all the time. Every job or lifestyle has parts of it that we won’t like.

Let’s say your dream is to become an actress, and you succeed. You may not enjoy the process of auditioning and facing rejection. You may experience moments of boredom when you practice your lines over and over again. But the overall experience is totally worth it.

Most of life is like that. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by demanding that life be perfect all the time. If things were perfect and easy, you would ultimately stop learning and growing, and life would begin to lack even more meaning in that case.

Be grateful for both the good and bad moments as they are both entirely necessary if you genuinely want to do what you love and love what you do.

Doing What You Love May Not Be Easy

Living a life you love is unlikely to be easy. If it was, you would not grow very much as a person. And, if you think about a great book or movie, the growth of the main character is what matters most.

What if the challenges you meet along your path to living a life you love were designed to make you grow as a person? You may actually start looking forward to challenges instead of dreading them. An easy life hardly ever makes a compelling story.

Advertising

If you struggle to overcome challenges, try writing them down each time you encounter one. Then, write down three ways you could tackle it. Try one, and if it doesn’t work, try another. This way, you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

How to Do What You Love

There are many small steps you can take to ensure you are making time to do the things you love. Start with these, and you’ll likely find that you’re already on the right track.

1. Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Many people claim they want to do something, yet they don’t do it. The truth is they might not really want to do it in the first place[2].

We all end up following through on what matters most to us. We make decisions moment by moment about what we need to focus on. What we choose to do is what we deem most important in our lives.

If there is something you claim you want to do but you don’t do it, try asking yourself how much you really want it or where it’s currently placed on priority list. Are there other things you want more?

Be honest with yourself: what you currently do each day is a reflection of your priorities. Recognize that you can change your priorities at any time.

Advertising

Make a list of your priorities. Really take the time to think this through. Then, ask yourself if what you are doing each day reflects them. For example, if you believe your top priority is spending more time with your family, but you consistently take on extra hours at work, you’re not really prioritizing things in the way you think you are.

If this is happening, it’s time to make a change.

2. Do One Small Thing Each Day

As stated above, doing what you love doesn’t have to mean finding that perfect job that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you want to do what you love, start with one small thing each day.

Maybe you love reading a good book. Take ten minutes before bed to read.

Maybe you love swimming. Get a membership at the local YMCA, and go there for thirty minutes after work each day.

Dedicating even a short amount of time to something that brings you joy each day will improve your life overall. You may find that, over time, a career path related to what you love to do pops up. After doing the thing you love each day, you’ll be more than prepared to take it on when the opportunity arises.

Advertising

If you need help making time for your passions, check out this article to get started.

3. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

If you are an exceptionally busy person (aren’t we all?), you may have to make sacrifices in order to make space for the things you are passionate about. Maybe you take on less extra hours at the office or take thirty minutes away from another hobby in order to develop another that you enjoy.

Looking at your priority list will help you decide what can get put on the back burner and what can’t. Remember, do this thinking about what will help you feel good about how you’re spending your time. 

For example, if you love writing but rarely make time for it, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Or instead of browsing your phone for 30 minutes before bed, you can write instead. There is always a way to find time for what you love.

Final Thoughts

If you love what you do, each day becomes a joyful adventure. If you don’t love what you are doing, life feels like a chore. The best way to achieve success is to design a life you love and live it every day.

Remember, doing something you love doesn’t have to include big gestures or time-consuming projects. Start small and grow from there.

More on How to Do What You Love

Featured photo credit: William Recinos via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next