Create a document with too much white space or exceed 3 pages (for instance, avoid a 1 1/3 or 2.5 page resume. If you can’t fill entire pages, then edit and scale back the document.)
Use graphics, shading, underlines, columns, headers or footers. These word processing features may impede the accuracy of the Applicant Tracking software used to scan resumes.
Include a photo or personal details describing your marital status or religion. While these features may be acceptable in other countries, they are frowned upon in a North American resume.
Select the default and overused Times New Roman font. Good choices for reading on desktop computers, laptops and other mobile devices include: Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Verdana, and Trebuchet MS.
Use more than 2 font styles or font sizes. I like to pick one font style then use a larger font size such as 14 point for a person’s name on line 1 and section headers (Professional Experience, Affiliations, and Education) and a smaller font size of 10 point to 12 point for the body.
Use a Hotmail, work or customized email address (such as email@example.com). Stick to a Gmail or email address from your service provider using the syntax FirstName+LastName@myisp.com.
Omit employment dates or personal downtime such as maternity leave. A career gap can be the #1 reason your resume is overlooked or deleted.
Use the personal pronouns “I”, “me” or “my”. Instead of “I was responsible for a $35M project and 35 staff in 3 countries”, write “Championed a $35M global project leading a geographically disparate 35-person team operating in China, Italy and the UK.”
Use the phrase “Responsible for” to describe your career activities. A hiring manager is not interested in your job duties and responsibilities. They want to know about your career achievements and the impact you made at each employer preferably with metrics such as saved xx%, boosted sales by $250,000, reduced cycle time by 7 days.
Embellish any content. Some people feel the need to enhance their career story. Hiring professionals are very good career detectives with access to not only your references but also your social media profiles and your network connections. It doesn’t take much effort to uncover the truth so be honest from the beginning and avoid doing yourself any brand damage by telling lies.
Conclude the resume with a list of references or the phrase “References Available Upon Request”. It is expected that a separate reference page will be provided when asked and not before.
Once you’ve updated your resume and eliminated all the don’ts, remember the purpose of a resume is to get you an interview, not a job and always accompany each resume with a customized cover letter. Failure to send both would actually be considered the next mistake in your job search strategy.
About the Author:
Martin Buckland, President of Elite Resumes, is a leading resume writer, career coach and job search strategist with a global clientele. Martin currently holds the following certifications: Certified Professional Branding Strategist, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Job and Career Transition Coach, Certified Job Search Trainer and Co-Pilot Executive Coach. Visit my website at http://aneliteresume.com/