Most job seekers include way too much information on their resume. Including irrelevant and excessive information on your resume is a sure fire way to lose your audience. Here are a few tips to prevent your resume from resembling an episode of Hoarders.
1. An Objective Statement – Leave this dinosaur in prehistoric times. This clunker is using up prime real estate. Put yourself in the shoes of your tech savvy recruiter/hiring manager/HR fancy pants. They are usually too lazy to click print and are reading your documents on a computer screen, smartphone, or tablet. The top 1/4th of your resume needs to be so darn intriguing that they want to lift their finger (such a heavy task) to scroll down.
Your garden variety “Objective: To obtain a rewarding position as a civil engineer,” statement leaves a lot to be desired. What does that tell you about a candidate? How does that make a candidate different from every other candidate for this job? The answers, if you’re keeping score, are: “nothing,” and “it doesn’t.” If you’re going to include a statement at the top, make it a personal summary that acts as a condensed version of your elevator pitch.
2. Cliches - Words like team-player, motivated, results-oriented, innovative, without detailed descriptions, are enough to drive anyone reviewing your resume to drink. Be descriptive and “state the facts ma’am.” Your resume is for experience and accomplishments only. It’s not the place for subjective traits. Employers will ignore your self assessments, but will pay attention to hard core facts. Did you manage a team? Create a portfolio? Bring in additional money, clients, etc.? State this. Leave the fluff alone.
3. Irrelevant/Dated Experience – We get it, you worked your tail off and you want everyone it. But, rule of thumb, if the experience is over 10 years old, leave it off your resume. If the job you had more than 10 years ago was really, extraordinarily important, special or impressive, then you should definitely include it. So, all you rocket scientists and astro-physicists, this is your sweet spot!
Your most recent experience should speak to your qualifications, anything irrelevant or dated makes it seem like you are padding your resume. Don’t just fire off that resume all willy nilly. Make sure your experience is tailored to the job’s specific requirements.
4. Employment Gaps – In this economy, gaps on a resume are more of the norm. Its how you explain within in an interview that matters. If gaps are of great concern, create a functional resume, instead of a chronological resume. List all your jobs (and gaps) in order, rank your past jobs by how relevant they are to the one you’re applying for and how well they show off your skills and experience. Then put them on your résumé in that order.
5. References Available Upon Request – This is the most wasted line in resume history. It is like telling someone the sky is blue. If an employer wants to hire you, they know you will provide references, that goes without saying. You just wasted prime real estate and space to sell your abilities and qualities.
Go forth young Jedi, the work world is yours to conquer.