September 12, 2013

6 Critical Don’t’s for Your Resume

senior man pointing his finger in warningYour resume is going to be a key element of your career search. It is vital that you produce a resume that shows you in the absolute best light and will encourage the recruiter to see you as the ideal candidate for the position you desire. Unfortunately, zeal for a position can sometimes cause those in the quest for a career to completely forget what things are appropriate and inappropriate, what should be included in a resume, and what should be left out. This can be a pretty devastating mistake; so, it is important that you carefully review your resume several times prior to actually submitting it to make sure that you are doing yourself a service by submitting this material and not just giving the recruiter a reason to put your resume aside.

Keep in mind that a recruiter or hiring manager will likely review hundreds of resumes for a position that has been advertised. He or she is a busy person with a lot to do, and will be looking for any reason to disqualify a resume. If the recruiter can’t find the things that he or she is looking for quickly, or notices things that don’t have a place on a resume right off the bat, it is likely that the individual will quickly discard it.

There are a few things that you must absolutely leave off of your resume, or ensure are not a part of the resume that you present to your prospective employer. These include:

1. Don’t use a nickname on your resume. Include only your legal name, of course that may be your middle name with a first initial, which is completely acceptable as long as that is your business name.

2. Avoid trying to sound impressive by using a lot of fancy words. This is particularly if you don’t really know what the “big words” mean. This can end up insulting the recruiter and making you seem unprofessional or immature.

3. Don’t include any personal information. When I say personal, this includes the following: race, age, gender, height, weight, health, physical appearance, religion, national origin, or marital status. None of these things is relevant and they can actually cause complications.

4. Don’t make demands. Avoid telling a prospective employer what you expect out of a position or what you want it to do for you. Speak only about what you can offer the company. It is not the responsibility of the company to continuously stimulate and challenge you, but rather your responsibility to provide yourself with challenges and continuously work toward your goals.

5. Don’t explain terminations, resignations or unemployment gaps. It’s important that you do not discuss the reasons why you left your previous position or company or why there are underemployment gaps between jobs. These things should be discussed during the interview, and you will have better opportunity to express yourself in person rather than just through words on a page. Besides, this takes up too much unnecessary space on your resume.

6. When discussing your skills, avoid using long paragraphs and sentences. Use bullet points without any form of punctuation, and make sure that you remain consistent throughout the document. This will eliminate wordiness and help the reviewer get through the information quickly.

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Marie is a writer for covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.