Saturday, November 15, 2008

7 Deadly Sins of Resume Writing

If your resume is not getting the attention you want, maybe you are committing one of these seven deadly sins of resume writing.

Remember that recruiters and hiring managers will scan your resume for about 20-30 seconds to decide if it should be in the "keep" pile or the "no way" pile. Take 15 minutes to scan your resume and audit for these common resume writing mistakes.


This goes without saying. Do not be afraid to ask for help to proofread your resume. Ask a friend, a colleague, family member, a professor or even a prior boss to help you check for errors. There are also many online resources that offer free resume critiques and will catch errors you miss.


Remember that resumes are not supposed to necessarily chronicle everything you have ever done. The goal instead is to package your most relevant experience and skills to suit the specific position in which you are interested. Very few resumes need to go beyond two pages. If you find yourself going beyond two pages check for relevance.

Lack of clarity

Does your resume make a compelling argument, is clear, concise or to the point? Can the recruiter or hiring manager tell from your resume, what you really want? Is there an objective that focuses the resume or are you wasting words on "resume speak".

No marketing value

Do not forget that your resume is a calling card that represents your personal brand and will get into place when you can't. Professional presentation with an attractive and readable layout is important. Fonts, formats and styles should enhance not detract from the marketability of your resume.

Writing style

Avoid run-on or long sentences. Remove personalization in the form of pronouns such as 'I" or "my". Write in an objective voice. Be wary of professional resume writers who do not write in "your voice". Employers can tell the minute they speak with you on the phone.

Lies or misrepresentations

Do not lie or misrepresent your past on your resume. With today's social networking technology and employee verification processes, lies won't last.

No outcomes

What is the purpose of the resume if not to speak to your accomplishments and outstanding outcomes? Too many resumes chronicle the past, but fail to actually speak to successful outcomes.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Marcia Robinson writes, trains and coaches on career, workplace and employment issues for and BullsEye Blogs. Robinson has a BS in Human Resource Management, a Masters in Business Administration, nine years of professional experience in career center operations and 14 years of leadership experience in the Higher Education

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