Resume help for time wasters? Yes, resumes can be an amazing waste of your time. Wait. What? You read that correctly – resumes can be a terrible waste of your valuable time. We call it resume fail, true resume time wasters. Yep, bad resumes and poor resume writing simply waste your time. There are tons of resume time wasters waiting to steal your time and energy. You need resume help.
However, if you have tons of time to spare on resume writing and resume rewriting, you’re probably fine with wasted time. Likewise, if find a new job is not time critical and you have time to spare, you probably won’t mind a job search to stretches out for months or, dare I say, longer?
Bad resumes pile up in front of just about every job posting. If you are not getting any calls for interviews from your resume, yours could be one of those taking up space. Here is resume help for our 11 top resume time wasters that really get jobseekers off track and into unproductive territory, eventually leading to ultimate resume fail.
Resume Help for Top Resume Time Wasters
If you feel like you are continually working on your resume and job search and getting nowhere, you are not alone. Here is some resume help for some of the top resume time wasters. How many of these are slowing your job search down?
- Resume Formatting. Rule of thumb is keep it simple. I have watched jobseekers format and reformat their resume time and time again without making any substantive changes to their resume itself. It’s kind of like rearranging the furniture, reorganizing the spice shelf, or even shuffling a deck of cards. There are tons and tons of resume formats you can find online, some are free others you need to buy or even use templates. In general, the format is less important than the content. With that being said, a few simple guidelines are to keep the format simple, professional, easy to read. The easier to read it is, the more likely that reviewers will quickly identify key details they are seeking as the do an initial scan which may list mere seconds. Additionally, many initial resume reviews are done by computer software so the more complex the resume format, the more likely key details on your resume may be missed. Now, if you are an artist or publication designer, there may room for some creativity. However, in general, it is not recommended.
- Resume Fonts. I actually get this question a lot. Which font should be used for a resume. The simple answer is also to keep it simple and professional. Find a simple and easy-to-read font. The most common fonts used are something from the Times (serif) or Arial (sans serif) families or similar fonts. Many resume encourage using a sans serif font for headlines and titles and a serif font for the body text of the resume. This approach works fine and helps to clearly show the sections of your resume and guide the resume reviewer. Do not every use a script or overly ornate font. While they may look fancy, they are very difficult to read. In cases where the resume may be scanned by a computer, it may not be able to interpret the font and translate into characters it understands. So, stick with the basics on fonts.
- Including artwork or specialty resume designs. I sometimes see resumes with artwork on them like an abstract squiggle or even a long flower, perhaps running up one of the page sides. Other times I will see a resume with a large monogram of the jobseeker’s initials on the top of the page. This may look nice to you and you may be seeking to make your resume look pretty. Don’t. Just don’t. It may make your resume stand out for the wrong reason, it may quickly get you added to the no thanks pile by the reviewer. Artwork can be distracting and there is really no place for it on a resume. Even if you are a designer, you will have a portfolio to showcase your work. Keep your resume format simple and avoid any artwork. Period. Don’t take any risks that might interfere with an in person or computer software review of your resume.
- Including a Photo. Photos have absolutely no place on your resume. Why? There are many laws on the books related to discriminating against people for any variety of reasons. Even in the subconscious reviewers may think to themselves that you appear unhappy, sloppy, too this or too that in your photo and you would never even know. Let them see the real you only when you are invited to interview. Even actors and actresses provide their photos separately from their resume. Keep the photos off your resume.
- Wordsmithing. This is, to me, one of the largest time wasters. I watch jobseekers write, rewrite, and rewrite the same sentences over and over again. And when they are done, they still say the same thing. Wordsmithing is the art of trying to perfect your sentences one by one. It is a terrible waste of time. Your time is better served making sure you are including the right information rather than rewording the sentences over and over again.
- Objective Statement. A long, long time ago, it was common to include an objectives statement at the top of your resume. It was perhaps one of the most consistent and useless uses of space on a resume. It doesn’t add any value. Most of the time, these statements were so general that they had no real meaning at all. So, do not include an objective section on your resume. You are far better served by replacing it with an experience summary that provides an overview of your qualifications of the specific position to which you are applying. See our previous blog post on writing an experience summary.
- Verifying old job titles. Do not bother going back in time to get your exact previous job titles correct on your resume. Actually, this could be a detriment to your job search. Rather than exact job titles, you should use descriptive job titles. Why? Because every organization is different and the same job titles could mean different things, or in fact a job title could be meaningless outside of a company. For example, what is the difference between a specialist I, II, and III, or IV for that matter? Create a descriptive job title instead that captures the essence of your position and is meaningful to the hiring manager.
- Detailing responsibilities for each position. Let me ask you a question. If you were a hiring manager, would you be more interested in what a candidate’s job responsibilities were supposed to be or their actual achievements in that job? Fact is, a job description rarely matches what an employee actually does and hiring managers don’t really care about what you were supposed to do. They want to know what you actually did, what your achievements were, what you accomplished, what was notable, any recognition you achieved. Focus on these items rather than describing what you responsibilities were.
- Capturing every detail of work performed in each position – no matter how small. Many of us are very detail oriented and want to ensure we fully capture every detail of the work we did on each job. However, an employer is interested in the work you did relative to their requirements. As a visiting nurse, I may have also written marketing letters and attended conferences. However, if I am applying for a position as a hospital nurse, these may not be relevant to the hiring manager. Space on my resume would be better used giving more relevant details than those little extras. Don’t give in to an urge to address every little thing you did for each position. Focus on the most relevant items and give details to strengthen your credentials. Always quantify your achievements and avoid making empty statements that carry no weight. If you do get an interview, expect to be challenged on these unsupported statements.
- Providing personal details unrelated to work, such as hobbies, etc. In your job search, follow this rule – keep it professional. Employers are taught not to ask about marital status, children, age, sexual orientation, etc. during interviews. To avoid any possible appearance of discrimination, the interviewer does not need to know this information and to avoid disqualifying yourself do not volunteer it. It can also be difficult to prove discrimination, so keep your discussions professional and avoid discussions that would disclose personal details such as organizing a PTA fundraiser or a Pride event. You want to make sure you are evaluated solely on your professional qualifications for the job, not an interviewer’s personal biases that you most likely would not be able to prove anyway.
- Including references or other contacts with your resume. Let’s review the purpose of a resume. The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview – that is, a face-to-face meeting with the hiring manager. You want this meeting to happen. This is where you get to state your case in person and you get to ask your burning questions about the job and see the workplace and meet the manager and potential co-workers. You have as much to learn as they do. Don’t give this information up front unless it is specifically requested. Don’t cloud the hiring process by giving too much too soon. Focus first on building the case for why you are the right one for the job.
Well, there you have the list of 11 Top Resume Time Wasters that lead to #resumefail. Hopefully, these tips help you to focus on the important parts of your resume. Now to truly get going, check out this post on how to write a resume. If you need some help, though, you can always check out our list of top resume writers.