Professional resume coaches don’t often agree on everything, but there are some things they’re all on the same page about.
You can get away with some shortcomings in your resume in some industries, but what must ALL good resumes have in common? Business Insider spoke to several professional resume coaches, and the results speak for themselves. There are certain things that many people do, but never should, when it comes to resumes.
The first thing the experts can all agree on is that your resume shouldn’t read like a job description. While you certainly want to show off your past experiences, don’t make your resume a simple laundry list of past duties at various jobs. According to the experts, it’s quite common for resumes to read like a simple list of past positions and responsibilities. While there’s a place for this information, it’s not the be-all-end-all of a resume. The experts instead suggest that you focus on context; what differentiates you from the pool of candidates who have that same degree and similar work experience? As a piece of advice, imagine that your recruiter is asking “so what?” at every mention of past experience in the field. If you can answer them and demonstrate that you understand why you’d be a valuable addition to a team, you’re more likely to get the job. Try focusing more on the results of your work than the work itself.
Second, small mistakes make recruiters cringe. Mistakes such as spelling errors or mismatched dates are sure to raise red flags when someone is considering you for a new job. The thing is that resumes are reviewed very quickly, and looking for these kinds of small mistakes is the easiest way to remove half of the candidates and build a short-list for the ones who got the basics right.
As mentioned, resumes are reviewed quickly, so wasting time on fluff or unnecessary styling won’t be appreciated. What will be appreciated is a resume which communicates what you have to offer in a scanable, straightforward, and honest way.