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Resume Writing Success - The Ten Most Common Strategic Blunders People Make On Their Resume
By Jay Edward Miller

 Post Your Resume for FREE at HotResumes.com

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A resume is essential when looking for a job. If you donít believe me, try conducting your job search without one. Even if your lucky enough get an interview without a resume, you will be faced with explaining why you do not have one when someone ask you for your resume at the interview. More than ever before, employers require resumes. And, more than ever before, employers will use your resume to determine whether not to grant you an interview.

An attractive, strategically sound resume can speed you along on your job search. But beware, there are strategic blunders that you can make on your resume that will hinder your job search and, in some cases, bring it to a screeching halt. With todayís technology, nearly everyone has an attractive print shop quality resume. However, the keys to an exceptional resume do not lie in the appearance, but in content and organization, i.e. strategy. How important is resume strategy? I have witnessed qualified clients who went literally from zero interviews to more interviews than they could handle by changing nothing more than their resume content and organization. If you want to get the most out of your resume, you need to come up with a resume strategy that will work best for you in your particular situation. Also, you must avoid the strategic pitfalls that every resume writer needs to be aware.

Day in and day out, I help people evaluate their resume strategies, and after more than 19 years of taking note of such things, here are the ten (in no particular order) most common strategic blunders I have seen people make on their resume:

1. Being less than a straight shooter. I am more than a little surprised by the number of clients I work with who want to include exaggeration or lies in their resume strategy. Their reasoning is that everyone lies on their resume -- that is how you get ahead. Donít believe it! There is no surer way to put limits on a career than building it on something less than the truth. By lying, you may experience some short term success, but the higher up you, go the more vulnerable you will be to exposure. Companies can tolerate some dings, nicks, and shortcomings in your past far more than they can tolerate being deceived or lied to. The higher up you go, the more thoroughly you will be investigated. Also, at the higher levels, you will run into remarkably skilled interviewers who know how to ferret out half-truths, lies and deceit.

2. Following old, outdated, and inappropriate advice. One of the most common and most damaging mistakes you can make on your resume is to continue to use the advice from your college career advisors long after it is relevant. They probably told you to, "Keep it to one page! Use short bulleted phrases! Start each sentence and phrase with an action verb!" This strategy may have worked when you were 22 years old with little or no work experience, but this advice has an extremely short shelf-life once your career is under way. Once you get some experience under your belt, you can probably throw your college resume away.

3. Blindly following absolute rules. The first rule of good resume writing is that there are no absolutes. Any rules you have heard about resume writing can be broken if you have a compelling reason for doing so. There are resume writing guidelines that have evolved for practical reasons, but they are simply guidelines, not absolute rules. If you are getting advice that resumes should always be formatted one way or another, or should always be a certain length, or always contain or omit certain information, take this advice with a grain of salt. Effective resume strategy precludes the limitations of absolute rules.

4. Using gimmicks to get noticed. A resume is first of all a business document. Being outrageous to get noticed works against a qualified candidate. Employerís value professionalism over flashiness. You can dismiss any claims to mysteries, secrets, or tricks that will get your resume noticed or read. Like with all forms of print advertising it comes down to content and organization.

5. Inappropriate style for your industry. Many industries have evolved their own distinctive resume style. If you donít want to look like an outsider, you need the right resume for your area of expertise. Resumes in some professions may be credentials based, while other professions may have higher regard for hands-on experience. Professions frequently have their own jargon and set of buzz words. Here is a partial list of professional areas with their own clear stylistic variations: technical; legal; finance; medical; academic; entertainment; consulting; art/music/TV/film.

6. Being overly broad. While I can certainly understand being open to a variety of positions, you can not come across as if you havenít a clue about what kind of job you want. Resumes that give no direction at all are generally useless. If you donít know what you are good at or what you want, you cannot expect a potential employer to figure it out for you.

7. Failure to let loose. If you have a hard time writing good things about yourself, get some help. Your resume needs to be as persuasive as you can possibly make it. You are expected put your best foot forward on your resume. Employers have no problem with that as long as you are not telling them a bunch of lies.

8. Failure to have a Headline: A Profile/Summary/Highlights section at the top of the resume. Your resume should start out, in as few lines as possible, by telling the reader why he or she should be interested in you. Donít let any narrow-minded resume traditionalist talk you into leaving this out of your resume. There are many reasons for this strategy, and two compelling are: 1) It gives the potential employer a quick snapshot of the person submitting the resume. They know right away where you are coming from, and have a good idea of what you have to offer them. They can then read the rest of the resume to see if your claims are credible. 2) It gives you an opportunity to generate interest by presenting your skills, abilities and accomplishments right at the top of the resume in the strongest possible terms.

9. Failure to include accomplishments -- both tangible and intangible. The quickest and easiest way to improve your resume is add accomplishments. It indicates that you have done things right in the past and, therefore, are likely to do things right in the future. If you have been working for some time in an area where results are quantifiable and verifiable, such as sales, your failure to include accomplishments will be conspicuous by its absence. Some jobs may not be quantifiable, but you can still include intangible accomplishments. This might include participation in projects, improving operations, formal recognition, etc.

10. Including negative information. You control what goes in your resume and what does not go in your resume. Though everything that is in your resume needs to be accurate, you do not have to put everything in your resume. To the point: you do not have to include information that can harm you. I like to call this "strategic omissions." For example, if you have significant gaps in your work history, there is no rule that you must put dates of employment on the resume. Will this raise some eyebrows and cause you to lose some interviews? Possibly, but you will you have to decide which is more harmful, to include the dates or omit them. Other common areas for strategic omissions are brief periods of employment, jobs out of your field, jobs held more than 10 years ago, and date of graduation.

Jay Edward Miller is the president of ResumeSavvy, LLC and author of the new best-selling ebook, Irresistible Resume. After 19 years as professional resume writer, Jay now teaches fast-track, heavy-hitter job seekers how to write their own Irresistible Resume. His hard hitting, marketing approach to resume writing has been the talk of the industry.

Are you looking for more interviews and better job offers? Visit Jay on the web right now at www.resumesavvyllc.com for your Irresistible Resume today.

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