It’s vital that you put your best foot forward in your resume. After all, it’s a marketing document and could be the key factor in whether or not you get an interview. The trouble comes when you write it in a way that doesn’t sell your qualities in the best light. If you’re finding that your resume isn’t getting you noticed, here are some ideas on what you should remove to improve your job hunting opportunities.
Generic objective statements that talk about you wanting “to grow with the company” and the like are pointless and do not distinguish you from any one else. If you are going to provide a statement, provide a brief profile paragraph that highlights your strengths and experience.
Ok, this shouldn’t be viewed as a universal rule because in some markets you do need one. But the key thing is to understand what the norms are for firms in the chosen country.
For example, if you are applying to large companies in the US or UK you should avoid having a picture. It’s not expected and the nature of labour laws in both countries could mean your application gets automatically rejected as part of company policy. However, for roles around parts of Asia or continental Europe there is often an expectation for your photo to be there. So, know your market.
Years ago, you would have expected to receive a lettered response to your application. Now you’ll get an email. Given data protection considerations, companies aren’t concerned about seeing your full address. Simply stick with writing down the area in which you live in shorthand (for example, “Happy Valley, Hong Kong”).
This is one of the biggest mistakes that most people make with their resumes. They write about their jobs as if it’s a laundry list of what they’ve done, rather than a summary of what they’ve achieved. No one cares if you prepared reports or done the filing. People care about how well you’ve done these things.
The context you provide can show a potential employer the value you can add. Always think in terms of what you have achieved and if you can provide tangible proof of that with information on dollars made or hours saved, for example, even better.
One of the key things you’ve got to consider is that you have no clue who may end up first reading your resume. It may well be someone that has had little exposure to your specialist skills area.
So if you bombard them with tons of jargon (even worse if it’s company-specific rather than industry standard jargon), you’re really not doing yourself any favours. Don’t expect to be at the top of the pile if you lose or confuse them.
It’s great that you have work experience but be selective. What you don’t want to do is bombard your resume with superfluous, unfocused information. Unless the roles are relevant in some way, you could merely be taking up valuable space on the document.
The same goes for courses as well. If they’re relevant, great. If there’s no alignment whatsoever with the role you are applying for, remove them. They are adding no value.
Not all of us have mountaineering or diving interests to add to the bottom of our resumes. If you do, then great – they could become useful conversational points at an interview. But there’s no value to be had saying “reading” or “going to the cinema”. If anything, it may suggest that there’s very little to you.
But it’s one thing to have interesting hobbies, it’s another to have ones that might not put your across in the best light. If you are a keen big game hunter, it might be wise to keep it to yourself. Think about the potential audience. Some readers may be offended by your choice of interests.
We’re not stuck in 1992. Back then resumes expected the phrase. Now they don’t. Yet it is still the default comment at the end of so many resumes. It’s simply not required. If they like you and you are far enough into the application process, they’ll ask for references as a matter of course. What you don’t want to do is come across as old fashioned – having that phrase in will make you look it.
One of the most common, reoccurring jokes in the job industry today is how an "entry-level position" requires 2+ years of experience.