We’ve shared some ideas about resume writing at Merit321, and that’s because we’ve seen a lot of resumes. Some job applicants are great at communicating their skills and accomplishments, while others struggle to sell themselves effectively. If you want to catch an employer’s eye for a job, you must demonstrate your value as an employee. Below are a few things to avoid when it comes to writing your resume.
A Bland Summary or Impact Statement
A bland summary or impact statement is one of the biggest items our recruiters see when it comes to job applicants ineffectively communicating their value to an employer. When we look for job applicants in the market, we look for more than just a skill set. We look for individuals who fit culturally within our client’s work environment. Simply enumerating your skills won’t make the grade. That’s why it’s important to tell us your story.
What type of person are you? What can you bring to our clients as an employee? Skills can be taught but personality traits are what indicate what type of behaviors we should expect from you in the work environment.
Leaving Off Dates in Your Work History
Leaving off dates in your work history when writing your resume is a big red flag to employers. It gives the employer the impression that the length of time you’ve served was short-lived. In their eyes, you become a job hopper.
Writing down the years of employment is not enough. You must include the starting months and ending months that you were employed.
If you most of your work assignments were short-lived, and not the result of hoping from job to job, you must provide a valid explanation. Were you a contractor working on multiple projects within the year? Did you freelance?
No matter the circumstances, there are ways to effectively communicate short term employment stints without negatively impacting your candidacy.
Gaps are just as bad as leaving off dates in your work history. Gaps raise the concern that you may have been terminated from a position. This will cause potential employers to shy away from you as a candidate. If you have a legitimate reason for a gap in your employment, it is best that you explain it.
Maybe you decided to travel the world for six months? Maybe you had to leave work due an estate executorship that required more time than was feasible for your previous employment?
Regardless of the reason, even if you took a job unrelated to your career objective, it is best for you to explain it in your resume. Don’t leave a glaring gap. The less instability you show on paper, the better.
Not Quantifying Your Accomplishments
Not quantifying your accomplishments in your resume also negatively indicates your personality in the job market. We’ve said this before.
A resume does not simply list your job responsibilities in current and previous positions. A resume showcases your accomplishments. When you can quantify your accomplishments (e.g., show results), you demonstrate your value to an employer. Don’t be afraid to brag on your resume!
Don’t forget: anyone with the same set of skills can do the jobs that you’ve done, but not everyone performs their responsibilities at the same level of productivity. Use bullet points instead of paragraphs when listing these items. Doing so makes them easily identifiable and will catch the eye of the hiring manager.
Always remember: your resume is your marketing collateral. Through it, you are selling yourself as a commodity that an employer can leverage. If you don’t demonstrate on paper why an employer must choose you over another, you will get passed over.