The resume is virtually a prerequisite to gainful employment. But for such an important document, it’s astounding how much can go wrong.
Bad grammar, flowery language and too many words are just some of the mistakes that can make potential employers toss your resume in the trash.
The U.S. job market is coming off the best year for hiring in 15 years, and many thousands of jobs are still unfilled. But one way to quickly take yourself out of the running for one of those jobs is to annoy a hiring manager.
The Huffington Post asked managers across a number of industries to reveal their biggest pet peeve about resumes, and here’s what they said. Job seekers, take note:
1. Spelling errors
Nothing shows an inattention to detail like glaring spelling errors. I have had people spell their names up to three different ways on resumes, misspell the company name in cover letters, misspell job titles, etc. Whether you are applying to a writing job, or any job for that matter, a simple error in spelling can spell doom.
— Chris Gamble, hiring manager at Rant, Inc.
2. Too long and too detailed
Keeping a resume brief and to the point is imperative. Once you get the interview, that’s when the details can come out. As a hiring manager, I don’t have time to read through a resume. I look for key words and a nice, clean resume.
— Stefanie Staley, human resources/hiring manager at SportsDigita
3. When resumes are the exact same as LinkedIn profiles
And, what’s even worse — when those bullet points read off like a job description. Candidates should realize that there’s a specific reason why I’m asking to see their resume in the first place (and it’s NOT to give the Hiring Manager something he/she can “touch and feel”) … I want to learn what sets them apart and makes them unique from someone else in that same position. So, for example, if you’re in sales, and there aren’t numbers and/or client names on your resume … there’s a good chance you’ll be overlooked for the role.
— Adam “AJ” Schecter, recruiting partner at SoundCloud
4. Not tailoring your resume to the specific job you want
I think the worst offender is writing one’s resume without first targeting select companies or organizations that will be a mutual good fit. How else can a job seeker know who they’re writing the content for, and get inside the employers’ heads (by researching each one) so the content will resonate with them?
–Meg Giuseppe, C-suite executive personal branding and job search strategist
5. Vague, puffed-up language
When a candidate dedicates a portion at the top of the resume to anoint himself with superlatives or qualifiers. An example would be: ‘Dynamic retail executive with strong interpersonal skills, a passion for inspiring teams through innovative practices, and a proven ability to overcome obstacles.’ It’s one thing to be confident, but I would recommend that candidates walk a fine line of objectivity and embellishment on their resume.
— Matthew Meladossi, director of talent acquisition at Coach
6. Not selling yourself
I often suggest to candidates that they approach their resume with a marketing mindset. Think about their audience, and understand what their target audience will be seeking. Incorporate that information into the composition of the resume.
— Joe Milner, manager of talent acquisition at Pearson
7. Bad grammar
I work in the tech sector and a lot of words have odd capitalizations, but I’ve noticed in the last few years that candidates are just randomly capitalizing words in the middle of sentences. Anything where the first word is an action word where the candidate “planned” something, for example. Inevitably — I’d say 50 to 60 percent of the time — whatever the next action word is, they’ll capitalize for no reason whatsoever.
— Neil Walker, senior technical recruiter at Gotham Technology Group, LLC
8. Not highlighting successes
The resume reads like a job description and fails to explain what the job seeker’s accomplishments were.
— Minerva M. Garcia, vice president of human resources at Accordant Media
9. Poor formatting
It does not matter where you are in terms of your experience level, but to me poor formatting just suggests that you did not pay attention to what you were doing and shows me your lack of interest.
— Aparna Junghare, HR associate at EquiLend
10. Not including an executive summary
The most concerning error is when candidates fail to clearly write (or altogether omit) an executive summary, [a brief introductory paragraph that explains who they are and what they’re looking for]. An executive summary is the candidate’s best opportunity to quickly showcase his/her skills, accomplishments and relevance to the role.
— Eric Di Monte, senior talent acquisition manager at Univision Communications Inc.
11. Not explaining what you did or when you did it
My biggest pet peeve with resumes is when a candidate does a huge summary of experience that encompasses all of their work history. Then follows with the work history section with only company name, dates, and title. No bullet points describing what they did at that particular company. Not an effective way to showcase experience and expertise.