Five Biggest Resume Mistakes You Can Fix Yourself
A career consultant can diagnose and overhaul a troubled resume. But you can check off the basics yourself.
Resume Mistake #1. "The mystery applicant." No contact information.
Fix: List a daytime phone number and email address, right at the top of the page. Create a professional-sounding message for your answering device.
Resume Mistake #2. "The scrunchie." Loads of detail crammed together in eight-point type.
Fix: Add lots of white space, avoid tiny type and use bullet points instead of long paragraphs. If you've got a story to tell, most reviewers will happily turn to a second page.
Resume Mistake #3: "List of tasks and duties." Obituary of a boring employee.
Fix: Sell yourself by focusing on accomplishments. Demonstrate the impact of your achievements. Describe actions, not obligations.
Resume Mistake #4: "The expressionist." Sets off alarm bells.
Fix: Choose chronological rather than functional form, especially if you use traditional job-hunting sources: HR departments, recruiters, and advertisements. Off the beaten path, use a sales letter or network your way to in-person presentations.
Resume Mistake #5: "Creative language." Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
Proof-read and ask a friend to help. Computerized spelling and grammar checks won't catch everything. A carefully-prepared resume will stand out more than you can imagine.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., author of Making the Big Move, helps midlife professionals navigate career and business transitions.
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