When it comes to your resume—first impressions are last impressions. Realistically, you have 6 seconds to engage a headhunter. Otherwise, it’s a clean swipe left. No hard feelings.
You’ll be tempted to push everything on your career cart onto one page, use unconventional formats, and to stretch every verb in your vocab beyond their reach. To be fair, most of these gimmicks are gimmicks. They’ll make you look needy and cheap. So, before getting started with the game, recognize what can potentially knock you down in round one.
Here’s a cheat sheet of blunders you can avoid, if you try:
#1. No One’s Interested In Your Pretty Smile
Keep your Facebook-smile handy for that interview i.e. if you land it. Offering a sneak-peak in a photograph doesn’t help unless the job you’re applying to demands it. If acting or modeling is not your your line of work, you wanna make sure you don’t get typecast for other reasons. Often, photographs distract and even invite bias—subconscious and blatant. Don’t take any chances.
#2. Your Political Views and Headhunter May Not Get Along
Going by the great American divide post-election—’politics’, we can safely say, is not a safe word. You may love Donald Trump or hate him—your future employer doesn’t care and should not. Extend this rule to include other things that you need to keep strictly personal: which way you swing or your opinion on the matter, why you’ll never have babies or how many you have, your relation with God, whether you’re married or not…you get the drift.
#3. Job Experience That Is Not Job Experience
Your resume is not a laundry list of tasks. Show how those tasks lead to concrete results. You might worry about gaping holes in your work history. Don’t make the holes bigger by adding your GPA, sorority/fraternity affairs, prom qualifications, improv skills or why you enjoyed a recent dog-walking gig.
Keep the margin of your resume at least 1-inch wide and vary the font between 10 and 14. Which simply means don’t cram everything you’ve ever done onto that page. It’ll show you’re too eager to please. And keep your backstory to 10 to 15 years, not more, if it’s longer.
#4. SSN—Are You Kidding Me?
Some things are plain common sense—even while you’re on a job hunt. Don’t offer your SSN, your birth date and exact street address unless you wanna expedite identity-theft. Many firms process resumes electronically—so there’s no way to be sure where your info ends up or with whom. Your current work number should be out too. You don’t want a potential employer calling your office, unless it’s to connect to a reference. There are other things, like obvious lies, which you want to avoid. Chances are if you get caught, everything you do right will come under scrutiny.
#5. Coolguy@dummy.com —Not Cool.
We get it—it’s your age to stand out. But you want to keep your email address as boring as possible. If your name reeks of unicorns and rainbows or falls into the email@example.com category—you’re not getting the job. Unconventional fonts, funky formatting and scent-laced paper are also big no-nos. Keep negative experiences out as well. Every one has skeletons in the closet—this not your moment of truth to come clean. For now, you are a salesman and your only job is to sell yourself.
#6. Your Objective Statement Among Other Things
Don’t waste precious space on your resume. Your only objective is to land an interview not to state your life mission. Delete that objective statement right away. Don’t list your hobbies either. Remember—you’re trying to act grown up. Your employer doesn’t need to know your salary details either, at least not on your resume. Or why you took time off to travel to Miami and why you quit your previous job.
#7. Can You Spell—Big Question Mark?
The first few steps of a job hunt are a lot like dating. If you fuck up on the basics, your date may not wanna dive into your rock star personality. If talking about your ex, or putting on excessive makeup, or getting drunk on day one are serious slip ups—the same applies to your resume. So, watch out for grammar goof ups and typos. If you’re sticking to a format, be consistent. Don’t use company-specific jargon. Keep “I” and “me” and such pronouns out. Embrace past tense. Using makeup is attractive i.e. impactful words like “managed” and “achieved” or “executed” but never in excess.
All in all—if you can manage to be yourself and avoid some of these blunders—you’re on track. Every time you get stuck, trust your inner chi or simply hunt the Internet for the right answers. Here’s wishing you best of luck!