This article is part of a series called How to Write a Resume. To start this series from the beginning, read the introduction.
I’m guilty. I’ve done a few big no-nos over the years with my resume. Some of my resume writing sins were stupid, some were silly, but most were made ’cause I didn’t know any better (so back to stupidity). Either way, I’ve learned there are rules when writing a resume. There are the resume do’s, but there are the big sinful resume don’ts as well.
|Resume Writing Series:|
This post is a warning for all job-seeking resume writers. Committing any of these 10 sins could send your resume straight to trash bin hell. I should know, I’ve seen many of these resume mistakes made on applications to join my team(s).
Here are 10 stupid sins of resume writing (The Don’ts):
1. Don’t write a bloody book.
The goal of your resume is to land you a job interview, not to publish your autobiography. Keep your resume to one page, or two maximum. If a hiring manager doesn’t like your first page, s/he is not flipping to read the second. So keep it short and sin free.
2. Don’t screw with instructions.
If the job description says to submit resumes in Portable Document Format (PDF), then follow the directions. Not taking instructions well at this early stage in the hiring process is a sure fire way to get burned. Fan the flames BEFORE submitting your application by reading the employer’s hiring instructions. Do research the prospective employer’s needs, match your resume to the employer requirements, and follow all job notice instructions before you submit.
3. Your email address is: Pervy@P0rnilicious.com
Don’t use your sinful email address on your resume. YUCK. Keep it clean and professional to get past the hell heap. For example,
JohnSmith@domain_name.com wears the halo and goes to resume hiring heaven.
4. Don’t write “references available upon request”.
I’m guilty of this sin. But “references available upon request” is implied. If you land the interview and an employer at this stage wants references, of course they will ask. Besides, removing this line saves some space for the good stuff, listing your accomplishments. Every pixel counts.
5. Don’t list references on your resume.
Never list specific references on your resume. Keep your references safe from harm by submitting them only after the interview. Who knows, maybe you won’t be interested in working for an employer after meeting them. So keep reference emails, addresses, and phone numbers private for only those jobs you really want. Just keep them ready on a separate sheet.
6. Don’t be a designer.
Unless you are a designer and know how to create resume templates, then don’t go dizzy on a dramatic looking resume. If you’re using multiple fonts, colors, sizes, and titles – chances are your attempts are going to look messy. Hiring managers have little time for strange layouts and will not take the time to decipher your font codes. Stick to simple, clean layouts to showcase your accomplishments, not your dismal design.
7. Don’t use a cookie-cutter resume template.
I feel so evil. Don’t be a resume designer but don’t use a resume template either? What gives! Well, resume templates (like those available in Microsoft Word) are sooo common. Most hiring managers can recognize them a mile away. If you’re going to use the most popular resume samples and templates in the whole freggin world, then do reconsider. A little change here and there can make a difference.
8. Don’t do chronological order.
Sometimes your most recent job is not the most critical experience for the position. If you’re currently working at Starbucks waiting to land an accounting job, then list your relevant experiences first. I don’t care if you can make a latte, seriously.
Hint: Organize your resume to consider the reader’s interest. What does the hiring manager care most about? Your skills? Your accomplishments? Your most relevant work experience?
9. Don’t get sinfully personal.
You’re looking to land a job interview, not liaise for a date. Keep highly personal information off your resume. No one cares if you are single, married, or divorced. Also, do not include your age, race, or gender. Listing these personal stats could encourage discrimination.
As a funny note: I once interviewed with a company who was surprised to see I was a woman. They were baffled and totally blew their interview with me. The first question out of the interviewer’s mouth, “You’re not a guy?”
10. Don’t email your resume in Microsoft Word (.doc) format.
For some reason, I’ve seen many resumes emailed and attached in .doc format become garbled. No hiring manager wants a garblely gunky resume. If you’re regularly sending your resume as an email attachment, do send in Portable Document Format (PDF). The PDF format keeps your resume looking as you intended. You may even consider just a plain text (.txt) version of your resume for sending electronically. Whatever the file format, be sure your resume is aligned with the requested format of the employer.
Avoiding any of these 10 deadly resume writing sins can keep you from the trash bin of hell. Avoid the flames by writing a solid resume free from any of these mistakes.
Ever goof on your resume? Send something with errors or mistakes? Did you still get an interview?