Main image of article 5 Things That Wreck a Resume

Working on a resume? Once you’ve chosen your format, listed your experience and skills, and polished the grammar and spelling, one task remains: making sure your resume doesn’t feature any of the following landmines, any of which can wreck all your careful work.

Your Resume Doesn’t Show Your True Skills and Qualifications…

All too often, a resume features vague bullet-points such as, “Contributed to Project X,” or “Managed a team of five engineers” without going into much detail beyond that. If you want to tell a compelling narrative about your experience, and show a prospective employer what you’re truly capable of, you need to pack as much detail into your resume while still keeping things relatively pithy. (No pressure.)

…But Don’t Overstuff It

Some tech pros sit down to write a resume and jam everything possible into it, including their knowledge of programming languages nobody cares about and platforms nobody uses anymore. While detail is good, it helps to concentrate on those things relevant to the prospective job.

It Doesn’t Demonstrate What You Can Offer

Any HR staffer or recruiter reading your resume is thinking one thing: What can this person do for the company? In order to answer that question, your resume should delineate your impact in your previous roles. How did your actions affect the success of your various projects, or even your previous employers’ bottom lines?

It Lacks a Compelling Cover Letter

Many candidates will spend hours and hours refining their resume, but comparatively little time on the accompanying cover letter. This is a mistake: Your focus should be on both your resume and cover letter, if only because the latter offers an opportunity to explore key elements of your experience and qualifications in greater depth. A recruiter or HR staffer can sniff out instantly if the cover letter is boilerplate; make sure to tailor it to the position for which you’re applying.

It Features Too Many Gaps

People tend to notice huge gaps in your work and education experience; be prepared to explain them (if you reach the interview stage). Even if you’ve managed to dodge all of the above, there’s still the possibility that something’s lurking in your text that could weaken your chances of landing that job interview. For best results, always have someone read over your resume before you submit it to an employer.

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