Tuesday, June 16, 2020

10 Resume Writing Mistakes You are (probably) doing right now

Your resume is the first gateway to be shortlisted for an interview. While competing against hundreds, or maybe thousands, of job applicants, do you think your resume is comprehensive enough to tell the story of your career background? 

During the span of my career as a recruiter, I have viewed more than 50 resumes per day. Some days during peak hiring, the amount can go up to hundreds of resumes. If you ask, how do I do that with such limited time a day? The truth is, recruiters are trained to pick up information that matters on your resume. So, we probably spend 20 seconds screening for each resume. The first thing our eyeballs pick up is the working experience and next is the educational background. If it fits the profile we are looking for, we'll keep for the next level screening or we proceed to read more. 

Coming up next on this blog: What recruiters look for when screening your resume

In this post, the information would be much related to the second screening, where we drill into your resume and scrutinize every detail of your career background. Here are some of the details that I always find missing in most of the resume I received. 

Did not indicate the reason why you are applying to the company

In the summary section on the top of your resume, usually, you will write your skills and knowledge. But what is the reason that triggers you to look for another job (if you are employed?). Are you looking for relocation to another state? Are you looking for a new challenge in a different industry? Are you looking for a career progress? This will spark off curiosity of the recruiter and you might be receiving a call from them to know you better. 

No indication of when your resume is updated

When you apply for a job, the vacancy might not be immediately available. And possibly your resume will be kept in the talent bank for a long time. It is a good practice for you to indicate in the header of your resume when it was updated - such as Updated as of March 2019. If the recruiter revisits your resume, they are able to judge your seniority or maybe suggest a career change if you have been in the same position for a long time. 

No proper chronology of your working experience 

Some people only update their latest position and did not show the chronology of their first position when they joined the company. As such, I always wonder how do they get a senior position immediately as a fresh graduate. When I called them, I found out that they have been recently promoted. 

You have to add to your experience as you move up. This will give a clear picture of your promotion, transfer of department, etc. Therefore, I recommend you update your resume when your responsibility change even if you are still in the same position. 

No indication why you resigned

Another thing that sparks curiosity is why did you resign in your position. Recruiters tend to look for those who resigned genuinely such as family commitment, looking for career progress after long service in the same company, etc. This is to ensure that we are not hiring someone who merely uses the company as a stepping stone in order to get a higher salary. If someone mentioned accepted offer in another company, it is not a genuine reason because we want to know what triggers you to look for another job. Without that reason, you wouldn't have gotten an offer, to begin with. 

No reference person

You'd be surprised that the working world is very small, it is even smaller if you are applying to a job within the same industry. A reference person might help you a long way. Some hiring managers would like to talk to the reference person first before speaking to the applicant. If you put reference will be provided upon request, then it might seem like you have something to hide. It is not necessary for you to put your current boss as your reference person, if you are afraid your boss might find out that you are looking for a new job, you can always put your previous boss, colleague, people who you worked with closely as your reference person.

Did not make proper use of your address

One of the unspoken rules or rather hiring preferences from the hiring manager is they like to hire those who are nearer to the office or business location. This is not being biased but we want to give an opportunity to the local community first.

Also, from experience, those who are staying nearby will have a smoother transition to the new job. If you are applying for a job in different state, you should "borrow" an address from your friend/family who lived nearby. 

No mentioning of your company business nature and industry 

It is also a good practice to indicate the nature of business and industry that you are working in. Simply add an additional line to your company name to state the industry such as Manufacturing (Semiconductor), Legal Firm, Media Agency, etc. Most of the time we can't tell what the company does from its name. 

Did not mention subjects/topics you are passionate about

More companies are hiring based on passion, especially companies like media agencies, art-related companies, and PR companies. You should spend a section talking about your hobby, past-time activities, a society that you are in, NGO activities, social activities, etc. 

For example, if you are passionate about the environment and the company is producing biodegradable packaging. Chances of you getting the job will be higher compared to those who have the same credibility as you. 

(Fresh Graduate) Did not list subjects taken in your university 

If you are a fresh graduate, there is very little information we can pick up from your resume. Bear in mind that the course that you took may be different from another university. You should attach your academic transcript in the same file as your resume. That way recruiters are able to see which subjects that you are strong at. 

(Fresh Graduate) Did not indicate CGPA

A lot of people may say that CGPA does not reflect the actual skills, attitude, and knowledge of a fresh grad, but also a lot of big companies are looking at CGPA. CGPA is the only measuring tool that we can refer to for fresh graduates. If you have a high CGPA, go ahead and flaunt it. It will put you at higher chance compared other freshies. 

Coming up next we will let you know what do recruiters look for when screening your resume. 

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