Lindsay Olson

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10 Things an Employer Doesn’t Want to See On Your Resume

When it comes to creating your resume, there are some obvious no-nos you should avoid, like naming your resume, well, “resume.” Here are more things that will turn off an employer, and that you should avoid doing at all costs.

1. Your 1-Month Stint at an Ice Cream Shop

When you’re a new grad, it’s hard to know what to put on your resume, simply because you don’t have a long work history. But as you gain experience, start moving those unrelated summer jobs off of your resume, especially if they were extremely short. Also: if you worked in a professional job for a month or two, it’s probably better to leave it off, or hiring managers will question why you couldn’t stay at the job longer.

2. Annoying Buzzwords

Let me guess: you’re highly organized, a people person, and a multi-tasker. These are filler words on a resume, and employers are sick of seeing them. Really consider the best words to describe what you do. Use a thesaurus if you get stuck.

3. All Your Extra-Curricular Activities

When you’re first taught to create a resume in high school or college, you’re encouraged to put all your extracurricular activities down, like cheerleading or rock climbing. While I don’t think hobbies necessarily kill a resume and can paint a better overall picture of the candidate, I do think they can take up valuable real estate if it doesn’t tie in somehow to your career or demonstrate characteristics important for the position.

4. Over-Personal Information

Proud as you may be to be a card-carrying member of the NRA, or of your church or political party, your resume isn’t the place for it.

5. Your Date of Birth

In the United States, employers are skittish about topics they can’t broach with you (age, race, marital status, etc.), so keep your date to yourself. Let your experience speak for itself, not the age.

6. Why You Were Fired

If you were let go in a previous role, your resume isn’t the place to discuss it. Actually, you should probably not bring it up at all in an introduction if you were fired. Let the employer guide that discussion if you’re invited in for an interview.

7. A Headshot

You don’t really want to be judged based on how you look if you’re trying to get a job based on merit, so nix on the photo. Even though these days it is pretty easy to see a photo on any professional or personal social network, it’s not a widely accepted practice to include a headshot on your traditional resume in the United States.

8. Every Responsibility You Had at Every Job

Your resume is supposed to show a few of the key responsibilities you’ve had in the past. Choose three to five that you think are the most noteworthy and relevant to the job, tying them into your major achievements.

9. The Cute Font

As cute as Comic Sans is as a font, it doesn’t belong on your resume. If you want to be taken seriously, stick to a font type that’s easy to read. It doesn’t need to be Times New Roman or Arial. Play with Calibri, Book Antiqua, Century, Garamond, or Georgia.

10. Unprofessional Email Address

Email addresses are free. Get an email with your name. Luvbunny_22@hotmail.com isn’t going to cut it. Obvious, right? I still get emails like this from applicants. The same goes for shared couple/family email addresses. Get your own email address for the job search. It’s a small investment of your time and you can always auto-forward responses to your most frequently used email if necessary.

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What Type of Resume Works Best for You?

Resume Design
When it comes to resume writing, the content is the most important piece. Formatting plays an important piece in how you present yourself as well. Depending on the job and your personal circumstances, you may be able to increase your chances of being asked in for an interview if you choose the correct format for the situation.

Types of Resumes to Consider

We’re going to look at three types of resumes. While there are variations of these, the three listed here are the ones most commonly used in the job market, and each has its own pros and cons. Consider which is most useful to you for each job application.

Chronological
The chronological resume is probably the one you learned to write in high school and the most widely used and accepted. It’s a simple reverse order list of your work experiences, with the most recent positions listed first.

This type of resume is best used if you have consistent experience in your field, where you can demonstrate upward mobility and new skills acquired in each of your positions. It’s a great choice to showcase your range of experience in the industry and demonstrate your loyalty to the companies you have worked for.

Functional
Of all the resume types, the functional resume is probably the least appreciated. It highlights your skills and education rather than the positions you have held. People use functional resume to focus on the skills a job description requires.

When you haven’t yet worked in the field you are applying for a position in or if you have a gap in your work experience due to extended leave, illness or another reason, you may prefer to point out your skills rather than the fact that you haven’t worked recently. This is also true for those new to the workforce and for anyone who is in the process of switching careers. Keep in mind that this may be a hard sell and it can be more difficult to land an interview with a functional resume.

Targeted
A targeted resume is similar to a chronological resume, but it is specifically tailored to the position being applied for. In most cases, this means eliminating any experience not related to the position you are interested in, instead focusing on the jobs you have had that relate to this one. The one downside is that it will need to be tailored to each job you apply for, which may be more time consuming.

Writing a Better Resume
Without a well-written resume, your chances of landing the job you want are much lower. Unless you’ve been recommended for the job, this is the hiring manager’s first impression of you. Check, check, and check again the document. Have a friend or two look it over and make sure it is error-free.

You could try combining two types of resumes for a more unique result. For example, you might mix the functional with the chronological format to ensure that the employer has what he is looking for in terms of work history, but rather than lead with your work history, you focus the beginning on the skills you possess that make you a good match for the position.

Don’t be afraid to inject your own personality into the resume, rather than writing it in a mechanical tone. Let the hiring manager know a bit about you through your style of writing before he meets you.

Finally, take a minute to check out some sample resumes to get ideas and to be sure you are on the right path. You’ll find plenty of samples available online (Indeed.com’s resume search and Docstoc.com).

Photo credit: CharlotWest
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