Resume Writing No-No’s:
(and you can relax now, there’s really only 7 listed here — whewww!)
- NO TYPPOS!!!! You KNEW that, I know! (And yes, I know there aren’t supposed to be too, I mean two P’s in typos, to . . I mean too!) . . . but you’d be surprised just how many resumes have mistakes – and more than won (err, one)! (ugh!)
- Spell check first, then proofread, then read it backwards (this really helps you catch stuff!), then have someone else proofread it. (Oh, and make the needed changes, too!)
- Check NOT just for spelling misteaks mistakes, but also for incorrect word usage that spell check won’t catch – there/their/they’re, ‘from’ when you meant ‘form’, things like that.
- No colors or graphics (font or paper color).
- Exception: graphic design field
- No resumes over 2 pages long! Period.
- Weellll, the exception is a professor or executive with extensive experience. Then your ‘resume’ becomes a more detailed ‘curriculum vitae’. (see my post on 1 vs. 2 pages here)
- No personal information such as hobbies or marital status, or photos!
- The first two examples are really really old school & outdated and the last two could be legal issues. Just keep it professional.
- No “first person” language.
- Bad example: “ I made up the curriculum for my class.” No no! And not: “I was in charge of personnel and ordering.”
- Instead, the use action verbs and pertinent details. The correct “resume lingo” is: “Wrote curriculum for 5th Grade Honors Journalism class.” and “Managed personnel issues and ordered all company office supplies.”
- No fancy fonts or teeny tiny print size
- Keep it simple and professional and large enough for strained eyes to read easily. Font size 10 is pushing it . . . 11 or 12 are better. Always strive to make your resume as easy for the reader to read as possible, and that starts with font style and size.
- No listing references on a resume (or even adding “References Upon Request” – they know that, and will ask for them when they’re ready for ‘em.) You’ll want to have a nicely typed up list of at least three professional references ready for them when they do put out that request!
NOTE: (many of these may be worded as “Tell me about a time that you . . .”—have an example story ready to tell!)
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why did you leave your last job (or how did you like your last job)?
- What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
- What would your former boss/co-workers say about you?
- How would you deal with a conflict between yourself and a co-worker?
- What are your salary requirements?
- What are your short-term/long-term goals?
- Can you explain any gaps in your employment history?
- Do you have any questions?
Need some tips on how to answer these, and other tougher questions? Check out my very supportive Interview Skills Teleclasses chock full o’ strategy and structure on how to answer common questions — as well as lots & lots of practice and feedback - or – get the same thing, but in an individual, one-on-one Interview Coaching session. Get a free Interview Tips audio file, too, just for you!
“Luck, to me (means) hard work – and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.” -Lucille Ball
I encourage you to remember that you are interviewing THEM, too. Do your homework. Find out as much as you can about a company before interviewing with them. Do internet research, talk to your network and see if anyone knows anyone who works for that company, then see if you can talk to that person. Get copies of their annual reports and get a feel for the tone of the organization and their priorities. Only interview with companies you think you would like to be a part of. Not work FOR, but be a MEMBER OF their organization.
Remembering that you are an asset to any organization and remembering that each company is on try-out status with you, too, puts you in the empowering position of a decision maker and job-shopper.
It’s too easy to feel desperate and not confident enough to be choosy. Job searching can be emotionally (and financially) draining, and these stressors begin to take their toll and make us feel like we ‘have to get something”, and we may be tempted to “settle” for something we are not sure about. Our floundering trust that ‘the right opportunity is out there for me” may cause us to make a bad decision.
Taking the stance of interviewing them, too, levels out the playing fields. They’d be lucky to have you, if you feel it’s a good match, and you choose to accept their offer.
This is not arrogant (not with the right balance of modesty and self assurance), it is simply knowing very clearly what you want and valuing yourself enough to believe that you can and will have it.
Ultimately, waiting for a job that you are excited about will make you happier for the longer term, and, you will feel proud for having the faith in yourself and ‘the powers that be’ that it was possible to achieve your desires.
Answers to Common Questions About Functional Resumes
After my 2/17 post “Chronological vs. Functional Resumes“, I’ve received a few questions – so this post is for you, dear readers, hope it helps!
How is it different from a chronological resume?
A chronological resume is what most people think of, listing their work history in reverse time order including job title, company name & location and dates, then listing the skills, experiences and accomplishments of each job directly under each job title.
A functional resume divides your skills, experiences and accomplishments into separately listed skill sets that not attached to each job listings; it shows what you can do and have done, but not where and when.
When should a functional resume be used?
A functional resume is best used when:
- you want to highlight skills and experiences that are from jobs or experiences before your most recent 2 or 3 employers
- you want to highlight transferable skills from one industry into a new field
- you want to highlight skills and experiences that you have but would not be noticeable enough in a chronological format
- you have had many jobs with extremely similar skills and experiences that would be very repetitive in a chronological format (this will save space and make reading your resume more clear, easy, and appealing)
- someone has a spotty work history or large gap in employment to combine short term jobs and briefly fill in gaps.
Doesn’t a functional resume give employers the impression thatI’m hiding something?
No. Your work history is clearly listed the same as a chronological resume, but the difference is that your skills stand out and are listed first. Your work history is listed very simple and straightforward in the section following your skills and experiences. Functional resumes are becoming more popular and therefore more common in our dynamic working world where the average employee will change jobs and/or careers 4-5 times in her/his working life, and have many more jobs on average than in generations past. It condenses information in these instances.
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