It is time for our yearly plunge into resume horror stories to keep you shivering with fear on Halloween. Consider how recruiters or hiring managers will feel if they are wondering why:
- You chose an email address and a LinkedIn URL that are impossible to type: Everyone should know by now that “email@example.com” is not a great email address. But neither is an email or LinkedIn URL that reads: Jim-Smith-54198a7611q. It is straightforward to change your LinkedIn URL—look up the directions online—and even easier to settle on a short, clear email address you will dedicate to your job search. The best email address is your first and last name in any order (SmithJim). When your name is common, try adding your middle initial (JimRSmith), the state where you live (JimSmithNY), or your college degree.
- You made this weird change: Resumes with sentences like “Generated leads for by at XYZ Company” are clear evidence that changes were made but never proofread. Even a minor change could mess up a perfectly good resume, especially if an addition duplicates the same information you inserted earlier in another place.
- Your content is irrelevant to the job you want. Everything you learned and accomplished in past jobs is only relevant if it fits the requirements and expectations of the job you want now. That job you took in high school 25 years ago required skills that you have probably outgrown and expertise in technologies and processes that are very likely outdated. If you are transitioning to a new role or a new industry, emphasize your hard and soft skills that would also be valuable in the new job.
- You expect average readers to read that very small, light, and obscure font you chose: Some design elements work both online and in print, but others are impossible to read on a printed page. If you are using a light blue, for example, on a light grey background, make sure the words are readable in black and white—which are the colors most hiring managers and recruiters will see when they print out your resume. If Ariel, keep font sizes at or above 10-point, if Times New Roman, use 12-point or higher, and if Calibri, use 11-point or higher. Stick to well-known fonts even if you have excellent design skills; an obscure font may show up beautifully on your MAC, but be unreadable using Windows, or visa versa.
- During the interview, you have trouble describing the jobs and accomplishments on your resume: Practice talking about your accomplishments, teamwork, and training, education, and certifications. You may want to research the typical questions asked by recruiters and hiring managers to prevent surprises. If you stumble over answers, recruiters and hiring managers may realize that you are nervous or they may suspect that you lied on your resume.
If you are struggling to create a strong resume that is also accessible, accurate, and well-written, please contact Robin’s Resumes®, where we make it our business to stamp out resume horror stories.