Many job interview mistakes can be overlooked or corrected. However, when it comes to your resume, it must be flawless. Your resume is a marketing document for your most important product: YOU! If you’ve been sending out your resume, but haven’t been gaining any traction, it is time to review your resume with a critical eye. I’ve talked to countless HR and hiring managers over the years, and these are the top three things that will get your resume tossed into the trash folder.
Number 1: Typos and Grammatical Mistakes
Your resume needs to be perfect. If it is rife with typos, spelling errors, or grammatical mistakes, it conveys the message that either you cannot write, you lack attention to detail, you don’t care, or all of the above. Have your resume reviewed and proofread by someone other than yourself. There is no room for sloppiness on a resume.
Number 2: No Demonstrated Results
When you think about your current or last position, it’s easy to think about what you did. But you need to go beyond that. You need to think about what you accomplished. No one wants to read a resume that has a list of job duties. No one cares. What people do care about is what you achieved in your role. Remove the phrase “responsible for” from your vocabulary, and instead focus on how you added value to your employer, or what your major contribution was to a high profile project.
Number 3: Generic Resume
If you’ve ever had anything customized for you—whether a workout, by a personal trainer, or a suit, by a master tailor—you know that it is more time intensive than the “off the shelf” approach. You also know that the workout your trainer has designed for you is intended to meet your specific fitness needs and goals and that the suit for which the tailor took 20 measurements will fit you better than anything you could purchase off the rack. Customization vastly improves the quality of any product. That is why you must customize your resume for each specific role to which you apply. The hiring manager you’re sending your resume to only cares about the business problem he is dealing with right now. You want your resume to communicate that you understand the business pain and that you can solve it. Customization of your resume accomplishes two key things. It can convey your understanding of the role and the business problems. It can also be used to emphasize your strengths and how they relate to the job.
Above all, be sure that your resume contains quantifiable achievements, demonstrable results, and imparts to the hiring manager that you are a person who can solve his problem!