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Home  > Article

Avoid the Top Five Resume Mistakes

By Deborah Walker

Don't fall victim to the top 5 resume mistakes!

If you have more than one career objective, you need more than one resume.

Over the years as a recruiter and career coach, I've seen the consequences of poorly written resumes.  Unfortunately, most people don't seek professional career help until they experience the frustration of a long and fruitless job search.  It's surprising how many of their problems can be traced to the top five resume mistakes.


#1  No resume focus.

The most effective resumes leave no doubt as to the job seeker's career objective.  A one-size-fits-all resume gives the impression that the job seeker is uncertain of his career goal.  An employer once told me that if a candidate is interested in two completely different positions, he must not be very good at either.  If you have more than one career objective, you need more than one resume.

#2  Lack of marketing strategy. 

Job seekers rarely see their search for what it is- a sales campaign.  Think of your resume as marketing material designed to create a powerful first impression and win a multitude of job interviews.  A professional resume writer can translate your career history into an effective marketing piece by selling toward the reader's buying motives:  solving problems, saving money, or increasing profits.

#3  No accomplishment statements.

95% of all resumes lack accomplishment statements.  These statements allow employers to visualize your contribution to their company.  A resume writer can help you move from a job description type resume to a resume with quantifiable statements that motivate employers to call you before their competition does.  These statements can dollarize your worth and increase your bargaining power.

#4  Lack of resume keywords.

These days, resumes are screened by both humans and computers.  A resume lacking in keywords runs the risk of being read by neither.  An average screening of a resume is 15 seconds or less, so more attention is paid to resumes using the same words found in the job description.  Candidate-tracking software retrieves resumes by keywords.  A keyword-focused resume will put you front and center. 

#5  Incorrect resume format.

Basically, there are three resume formats: chronological, functional and hybrid.

Chronological:  The chronological is best known and easiest to write, a timeline style resume. This format works well if your objective is to remain in the same industry or occupation. 

Functional:  The functional resume places transferable skills and accomplishments at the beginning of your resume.  However, a poorly crafted functional resume can be confusing, causing the reader to believe the candidate has something to hide.

Hybrid:  The hybrid resume combines the best features of other resumes.   It showcases skills and accomplishments while maintaining ease of reading.  This is the best format for job seekers of all level, but it is also the most difficult to write. 

A professional resume writer can build a hybrid resume that will win response.

Once your resume is designed to avoid the top five resume mistakes, you will be well on your way to winning interviews and reaching your career objective.


About the Author:

Deborah Walker, President of Alpha Advantage, Inc., is a nationally respected career coach with extensive experience as a former headhunter and corporate recruiter.  Her clients include top executives at Pepsi, Ford, Motorola, Target, Sun Microsystems and AT&T. Read more resume and job-search tips at 

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