It’s difficult to write a résumé expertly tailored to the job you want. Even if you select the right accomplishments and skills to highlight, a relatively minor error can still implode your chances of a hiring manager taking you seriously.
In fact, it’s safe to say that writing an effective résumé is one of the hardest parts of the job-hunting process. As you’re crafting yours, here are some key things to avoid:
Self-Praise and Exaggeration
No matter how you feel about Donald Trump, don’t try to imitate his braggadocios prose, especially when you have relatively little space to describe your accomplishments. Saying that you’re the “best” (or “bigly!”) tells the hiring manager or recruiter absolutely nothing; instead, convey your accomplishments with hard, impersonal data (i.e., “boosted sales by 25 percent…”).
In a similar vein, never exaggerate your accomplishments; it’s easy enough for a hiring manager or recruiter to verify at least some of your claims. Even if they can’t ask your company directly to confirm what’s on your résumé, many of these gatekeepers have extensive networks; they can ask a former colleague or friend if something passes the “smell test.”
Using a Wild Font
Who hasn’t been tempted to use Comic Sans on your résumé? Hiring managers don’t find that sort of thing amusing, though—they want an easily readable font they can scan quickly (and automated résumé software, meanwhile, won’t care what you use).
If you’re at a loss over which fonts to actually use, Helvetica is always a reliable one, as is Garamond, Didot, or Proxima Nova. Or you could really play it safe and go with Times New Roman.
Relying on Overused Buzzwords
Never describe yourself as a “self-starter” or “passionate,” “hard worker” or “hard working” (that should go without saying, just like “experienced” or “motivated”). Definitely don’t refer to yourself as a “rockstar,” “ninja,” or whatever other cute terms are in vogue at the moment. And definitely never, ever use “synergy” or any of the other “corporate speak” terms that pop up way too often in PowerPoint slides.
Neglecting to Show Your Impact
It’s one thing to list what you’ve learned and where you’ve worked; but many tech pros neglect to mention how they used those skills, or the impact they had on their various workplaces. As mentioned above, make sure that you weave tangible accomplishments into each of your résumé's employment-related bullet-points, especially if you can sprinkle in some numbers.
For example, writing something like, “Accomplished a lot in my role as manager…” won’t impress a hiring manager very much. But stating something like, “Led my team to increase app-related revenues by 25 percent…” will get their attention.
Neglecting to Copyedit Your Résumé
No joke: Spelling errors will kill your job-hunting momentum absolutely dead. Don’t just rely on spell-check; get someone with a good editorial eye to read your résumé before you submit.