7 Ways Your Resume Is Boring Just Like Everyone Else’s

Man holds resume while waiting for a job interview

More and more job seekers are coming to us and letting us know about internal opportunities within their organization that they would like to apply to. But even as more opportunities open up, the competition is as strong—or stronger—than ever before. That's why your resume has to be perfect.

Your resume needs to stand out to the hiring manager. If you're not getting job interviews, your resume probably isn't as good as you think it is. In fact, it's probably boring employers. So, take it out, brush it off, and let's kick it up a notch.

Here are seven reasons why your resume is boring, and how to fix it...

1. It's Still Sporting That Outdated Objective

If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful top fold that includes your personal branding statement and a list of the skills you possess that are relevant to the position you're applying for. A polished personal branding statement will catch the employer's attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview.

2. The Design/Format Is Also Outdated

Hiring manager holds a resume


There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. A simple resume format is best because it makes it easier for employers to read the information you've provided. But if you haven't updated your resume formatting in years, it probably contains a lot of text and not enough white space, therefore making it hard for hiring managers to get the information they need in the few seconds they're reviewing your resume. You'll look out of touch and they'll be bored quickly. So, make sure you updated your resume formatting!

3. It's Missing Important Keywords

Woman hands the hiring manager her resumeBigstock

Omit keywords and the ATS (software system scanning your resume) can't find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you'll be left out of the interview process.

4. It Has Generic And/Or Vague Statements

Hiring manager holds a job candidate's resume during an interview


Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you're a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved. An effective resume contains quantifiable accomplishments, not just duties or responsibilities.

5. It Doesn't Focus On Hard Skills

Hiring manager makes notes on a resumeBigstock

And the championship goes to…hard skills. I used to be a full-time recruiter, and I used Monster and CareerBuilder to search for candidates. Not once did I enter the search terms: great communicator, excellent verbal skills, detail-oriented. These are universal statements millions use to describe themselves. Give me something tangible and relevant to the position I am trying to fill. You'll demonstrate these hard skills when you quantify your work experience.

6. It Tells vs. Shows

Woman looks a boring resumesBigstock

Instead of wasting valuable real estate on your resume providing me with a rundown of the job description (the same one I've read a million times as a hiring manager), show me what you achieved, what you accomplished, and what you contributed in the past.

Wow me with something other than the predictable, mundane job description. I want to know the challenges you faced in your previous roles, how you addressed them, and the results you obtained. This makes you different from everyone else. No two people will have the exact same experiences. Your experiences are what make you outshine your competition—use them to your advantage!

7. It's Passive

Hiring manager refers to a job candidate's resume


Using passive terminology is boring and lacks action. Instead of using phrases like "served as," "duties included," "promoted to," and "worked with," choose strong action verbs. Action verbs do just what they say: they convey action and, ultimately, results.

The hiring manager is interested in the results you can provide about what you did along the way. Choose terms like: launched, catapulted, spearheaded, and pioneered. These words tell me something. They show me the action you took and captivate my attention so that I want to read on to discover the results you achieved.

Your resume needs to do two things: it needs to capture the hiring manager's attention, and it needs to motivate him or her to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. If you look and sound like everyone else, you have no competitive advantage. Therefore, you've provided the HR person with zero motivation to pick up the phone, call you, and schedule an interview.

Stop creating a 'same old, same old' resume that looks and feels just like everyone else's. Start by adding some variety and focusing on your accomplishments today.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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