Want your resume to be read? Avoid these 5 resume don’ts

Finding that perfect job opportunity doesn’t come around very often for many, and when it does, excitement can take over and cloud the ability to stay focused on the best version of your resume.

“The main purpose of a resume is to get contacted,” says Mary Kate Robinson, career services director at The Art Institute of Houston. “Be sure to have your key ‘do’s’ first including rank/order, your experience, appropriate duties and accomplishments, correct spelling and grammar, and evidence of your knowledge, skills and abilities.”

Before you hit send on that application for your dream job, here are five not-so-obvious don’ts from career service directors from The Art Institutes International Minnesota and The Art Institute of Houston.

1. Don’t have conflicting information on your resume and your LinkedIn profile. Take the time to be certain that what is stated on your LinkedIn profile matches the resume you are sending. “Employers are doing their homework, and you don’t want to waste valuable interview time correcting facts or explaining discrepancies,” says Robinson.

2. Don’t use the same action verb. The thesaurus is not a dinosaur and it is not extinct. Avoid using responsible for over and over again. Switch it up. Use other action verbs such as created, delivered, designed, in addition to responsible for.

3. Don’t get grandiose with your accomplishments. In other words, stick to the facts. “I often correct recent graduates on the terms highly experienced or extensive knowledge,” says Becky Bates, career services director at The Art Institutes International Minnesota. “Unless you have a proven track record and have high credibility in a specific industry among colleagues, you shouldn’t be using those terms; and even then, your examples should speak to your knowledge, skills and abilities.”

4. Don’t overly promote your soft skills on your resume. “Employers ask for your resume and a cover letter for a reason,” says Bates. Keep your soft skills on the cover letter and leave the hard skills for the resume. Your cover letter should be the place where you express interest in the job, then tell them how your hard skills on your resume correspond to the specific position you are applying for, and lastly, you ask for the interview.

5. Don’t turn your resume into a laundry list. Resumes are supposed to tell stories, Bates says. “Resume reviewers only spend about five-to-seven seconds on a resume before they decide whether or not they want to continue reading.” Start your resume with a summary or objective, an introduction of sorts. The next information on your resume should tell the reviewer why you are qualified for the job. But Bates cautions that you should begin with your strongest point depending on where you are in your career. If you just graduated from college, your education is your strongest point, and so your education should be listed first, said Bates. “If you’ve had 6-to-10 years of experience in an industry, the fact that you worked at McDonald’s should go last.”

Today’s employers and gate keepers including recruiters and human resources are conducting thorough searches, and no longer solely relying on a list of experiences. The more holistic presentation you provide of yourself as a professional, the better chances you’ll have in rising above the competition.

For more information about The Art Institutes, visit artinstitutes.edu.


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