8 Ways Your Resume Can Hurt Your Job Search (or What Not to Do)

February 02, 2012 by Careerminds

Jennifer Fry
Careerminds Consultant


The day has come for Punxsutawney Phil to peek his head out of his burrow and let us know whether or not spring is right around the corner before retreating back into the ground. Regardless of what his shadow tells us about the season, there is something you, the professional in career transition can take from this groundhog’s annual appearance: when it comes to your resume, there are some things that should stay out of sight.
Certain elements that you think make your resume unique or at least acceptable, or even those to which you don’t really pay much attention could, in fact, be keeping your job search down– underground, even. While creating or revising your resume, take a glance at these examples of what not to do.

  1. Applying to a job for which you are not qualified. With the current state of the job market, it may be advisable to seek employment outside of your usual field, but no matter how you spin your qualifications, they’re never going to get you a job that you’re just not trained for.
  2. Not explaining how skills translate to a new position. Keeping tip number one in mind, when applying to a position in a different, yet feasible field, you can’t let your past job titles do all the talking. In fact, you should never let job titles do all the talking, but in this case, it is especially important to note on your resume just how your experience as a high school English teacher translates into applicable skills as a copyeditor, for instance.
  3. Using a generic resume. It’s been said time and again, so I’ll spare you a lengthy explanation on this one. Every position requires a resume that is tailored especially for that job/field/company/etc.
  4. Ignoring the details. The content is vital, of course, but being careless with format, font, spelling, etc. can really undermine all that great experience fairly easily. If it’s a struggle to read, hiring managers, who are busy enough as it is, may be tempted to simply toss your resume aside.
  5. Including irrelevant information. A generation or two back, it was common practice to include personal information such as physical characteristics, marital status, age and so forth on a resume. These days, it’s a pretty major faux pas.
  6. Using dull language. Boring verbs are resume killers, so try to stick to as many action verbs as you can. You didn’t just “do” something; you “achieved” it. You didn’t just “make” something; you “created” it.
  7. Including low GPAs. If your GPA is below 3.00 (out of 4.00), you should reconsider listing it on your resume. If you’ve been out of school and working for several years, you should reconsider listing your education altogether.
  8. Lying. Misrepresenting your skills, experience, education, etc. is a quick ticket on the fast track out of work. Remember, if you’re not at all qualified, don’t waste your time or that of the employer; instead, put your efforts to greater use by searching for other positions better suited to your skills.

Take this advice and use it to your job-searching advantage, otherwise you may be left reliving this Groundhog’s Day over and over until you can resolve your resume mistakes.

Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.



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