January 06, 2012
How much is your resume costing you? As a globally recognized executive resume writer, a former recruiter and the founder of Haute Resume & Career Services LLC, I review hundreds of resumes each year for job seekers who have often spent months unsuccessfully searching for a new job. The majority of these job seekers have one thing in common… they are using an old-school, backward-focused resume that does nothing to set them apart from their competition. In November, 2011 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average length of unemployment was at 41.1 weeks. Many of these job seekers are losing thousands of dollars as a direct result of their resume. Think about it this way: An unemployed professional who had previously earned $52K per year in his/her last position is losing $1,000 each week they remain unemployed. A 40-week long job search with the wrong resume could end up costing the job seeker $40K in lost wages. The good news is most of these mistakes are easily prevented when the job seeker has educated him/herself in the art of resume writing. Avoid these costly mistakes on your resume!
- Beware of many of the resume templates found on the Internet. A number of these templates have serious flaws and are not likely to work for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is their incompatibility with certain Applicant Tracking System software (ATS) programs. Many of these older templates were designed in MS Word with the content embedded in tables. If the employer’s software cannot extract your content from the table; your resume is most often deleted.Another reason these templates fail miserably is the result of the job seeker choosing the wrong resume format. I can think of many examples where a chronological resume can actually make a candidate who is transitioning into a new career, look far less qualified than they really are, since the more relevant information is buried deep within the resume.
- Don't waste your time with an Objective Statement telling employers what you are looking for in your next position. It’s much better to provide a job title in your accomplishment-based Qualifications Summary. The employer would rather you make their job easy by selling them on why they should call YOU in for an interview instead of your competition.
- Your resume MUST be targeted to the position that you seek. If you use a backward-focused one-size-fits-all resume it is not likely to contain the relevant "keywords" necessary to be picked-up by the ATS software.
- An exceptional resume requires quantifying your accomplishments whenever possible using numbers, dollar amounts, and percentages. This information demonstrates both the level of responsibility you've held, as well as the level of success that you've had in similar positions.When employers have made their decision they often go back and review the resume prior to making a salary offer. This is where they are reminded of the VALUE you bring to their organization making you worth a top-dollar salary!
- Most importantly: Know your competition!