CareerOwl Featured Career Article

When Resumes Go Bad
copyright © by Kevin Donlin

It's always a shame when a truly rotten resume crosses my desk, because it means that someone somewhere is spending more time out of work than he or she should.

The following collection of resume horrors is from people who wanted to know why their job searches had stalled. Read on and you'll see what happens ... WHEN RESUMES GO BAD.

Kevin Donlin
Kevin Donlin

Learn from these mistakes and avoid them!

1) Remove speed bumps
Your resume should start quickly and concisely, using language that draws readers in. That's the exact opposite of what this run-on sentence does, taken from the opening paragraph of a management resume:

"Expert in marketing, coordinating and facilitating extensive sales training programs for corporations, and national associations as well as training and development of sales professionals."

Focus every sentence as much as possible, so that readers can quickly catch your meaning.

2) Don't insult your audience
Here's how the first page of a four-page(!) resume began, as sent to me by one unlucky soul who had spent several months out of work:

"A Presentation of Professional Credentials"

Tip: if you have to tell readers that what they're looking at is a resume, those readers are in no position to hire you. Start selling yourself instead.

3) Man or kitchen appliance?
The following sentence was taken at random from a resume written for a marketing communications manger:

*Consistently and effectively initiate and implement cost effective processes and procedures."

That windy verbiage could apply to a waiter, a CEO, or a self-cleaning oven -- it's just empty wording that utterly fails to excite. Be specific, avoid pompous language and prove what you say with facts!

4) Context, please ...
Here's a striking phrase, for all the wrong reasons --

"Consistently in the 1% Delinquency Control Club"

I'm assuming that being in the 1% Delinquency Control Club is a good thing. But what did you have to do to get there? How much money was saved or earned as a result? Always give context to achievements that might not be readily understood outside your company.

To sum up, if your resume has gone bad and turned on you like a rabid dog, you have lots of company. The quickest way to find and eliminate errors in your resume is to show them to at least two friends whose judgment you trust.

Best of luck to you!

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Kevin Donlin is Managing Editor of 1 Day Resumes. The 1DR writers provide same-day, one-on-one resume writing assistance. He is also author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days ... or your money back. For more information, click here.

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