There’s a lot of advice out there for how to write your resume, but much of it is really outdated. As a professional resume writer, I research trends in recruitment and resume writing, and I’m amazed these obsolete resume mistakes continue to circulate in advice blogs. In the digital age, every message must be succinctly presented. The message of your resume is that you are a highly desirable virtual assistant. Yet throughout my years in human resources recruiting, I continued to be turned-off by resumes where I have to hunt for the candidate’s value proposition.
What is your Value Proposition?
It’s a short statement that articulates the value you provide to a potential employer. It says, “this is who I am, and this is what I do, and here’s how I do it exceptionally well.” It’s your professional brand. It’s your elevator pitch. It’s what tells an employer whether or not it’s worth taking time to learn more about you.
Five Resume Mistakes that Detract from your Value Proposition:
Resume Mistake #1: You May Be Busy, But Your Resume Shouldn’t Be
Recruiters and HR hiring managers have no patience for a “busy” resume – one that has so much going on that it’s impossible to understand who the candidate is and what he or she brings to the table (more on this further on). So, yes to a sans serif font, no to small font sizes. Stick to a 2-page format unless you’re a recent grad with little experience. Leave enough border space to be visually appealing as well as to allow an interviewer to make notes in the margins.
Resume Mistake #2 TMI
Yes, you can go overboard with Too Much Information in a resume as well as in your personal life! Candidates who insist on listing every single thing they’ve ever done at every job make the recruiter’s eyes glaze over – not the response you are shooting for. Select what’s important and what demonstrates not just that you did your job, but that you were great at what you did.
Resume Mistake #3 Objective
What is your objective? Is it to let a recruiter know what you want out of your career? Or is it to make the recruiter sit up and exclaim, “Exactly! This is exactly the candidate I’m looking for?” I’m going to assume it’s the latter. So why are you starting the resume with your objective? Begin it with a compelling professional branding statement.
Resume Mistake #4 Meaningless, Hackneyed, Overused….(you get it)
You’re a team-player. You’re hard-working, creative, collaborative. Or you have “proven ability at…,” or a “successful track record in…” Anybody can say this about themselves, and everybody does. But what does it mean? Show how you are collaborative by demonstrating how you achieved consensus on a project. Prove your ability by quantifying your success with an initiative you were responsible for. Hard-working? Team player? Need I say more?
Resume Mistake #5 Ignore the ATS at Your Own Peril
You may be the most qualified candidate out of the hundreds who apply, but if the ATS (applicant tracking system software) rejects you, your prospective employer won’t know it. Carefully read the job description for each position you apply and make sure that your resume and cover letter contain the exact keywords. Otherwise, the ATS will kick you out. Also, be mindful of your location. If you live in Seattle, but are planning to move to NYC, the ATS will likely kick you out. It doesn’t know that you can get to NYC on your own dime to interview, or that you don’t need relocation money.
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