Monday, May 27, 2013

Minor but Costly Resume Oversights, Pt II


Employment dates

Another item that attracts negative attention is your chronology of dates connecting your work experience. If you show only the years and not month/years there is an automatic assumption among many that you are hiding a break in your employment history. Always post the month and year you began a job and the month and year during which you concluded it.

If you have a period of time between jobs, ‘fess up and be prepared to explain it. Any assumption that you are being less than completely honest will have consequences for you. This is yet another example of how perception is reality and it falls upon you to be transparent and forthcoming. This is all about connecting the dots and removing doubt. It is also another reason for why I suggested in the previous blog entry that you can note the circumstances for your breaks in employment in italics to remove doubts about your work history.

Resume length

Is my resume too short or too long?” It's a question many ask themselves. I would suggest it is not about having a long or a short resume but how impactful is the content. Some people say one page; others say not more than two pages. As a consequence many people try to stretch their information, much like a kid who tries to turn a paragraph into a full-page book report for school. Then there are those who omit important information for fear of their resume being considered too long. If you work within an academic, scientific or technical sector you're likely to have a longer resume. If you are young and early in your career then you may have some difficulty assembling solid content and your resume will therefore be shorter.

When you are assembling your resume throw everything into the first draft and pare it down from there. As you refine it remember you want to give enough info to tease, but not so much that they haven’t any reason to call you because you were too effective, as they make a decision without inquiring further. Bullet points are an effective way to say more with less. I always suggest to keep the responsibility aspect brief and go heavier on your bullet-pointed accomplishments to get their attention. Pick your best few, and have the others in reserve and save them for when you meet face-to-face for a little extra horsepower.

The bottom line is, however, after you have refined your resume to the point you think it represents you and your experience, go with it and don’t second guess yourself because of a generalized opinion meant for the herd. You’re an individual, do what’s best for you so that you feel confident about representing yourself.

Typos and spelling errors

Believe it or not, this is the biggest mistake I see and most often it is due to carelessness and a simple lack of attention to detail that seems to have become the status quo; it seems that for many, half-assed efforts is becoming more the rule than the exception. Hey, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it right. So if you can take it up just a notch or more beyond what others are willing or capable of, you’re increasing your odds of success. Who would think it would reach a point where suggesting a resume without typos is necessary. But even I make mistakes, I know from writing this blog and my book that you might read, proofread and read again, and still miss something. Anytime you are able, get another pair of eyes to take a look at it, they’re likely to see things you’ll miss. Know this; there are HR and hiring managers who will toss your resume and disqualify you due to a simple spelling error, believe it or not. And why not, if they receive 100 or more resumes and have to screen them down to about 10 before initiating the interview process, are you surprised?

As we have noted, these are minor items, yet common mistakes that can disqualify you before you even have a chance to sit down with a hiring authority -- preventing you from ever demonstrating why you should receive serious consideration.

Feel free to comment about this post (no registration required).

No comments:

Post a Comment