Resume and Five Mistakes

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					Resume Writing: Sample Template and Five Mistakes to Avoid

Don't Go Too Far Back With Dates

Workplace Contributor

Aug. 30, 2010 —

In a competitive economy with a weak job market, you can't afford to have a less-than-perfect

While no jobseeker should rely solely on a resume to get you in the door, this all-important
document must capture an employer's attention because of your well-presented experience
and talents, not because it's filled with easily avoidable mistakes. Use this checklist to follow
10 steps on sending off your resume.

Professional email address.

A fun email address (hotmama, muscleman, vodkaqueen, and so on) may be fine to
communicate with friends, but think again before putting it on your resume. Another no?
Using your current work email address is also inappropriate. Get a free account from Gmail,
Hotmail or another service to use for all job-search related activity.

Click HERE for Tory's web extra tips, and click HERE to see a sample resume

Clear, concise summary objective.

In reviewing dozens of resumes, the language in this objective is very common: Manager with
more than 30 years of experience as a people person seeks a position in a stable company that
offers opportunity for growth. While it's essential to include a summary objective, you want
one that focuses on what you offer, not what you want. (It's a waste of space to mention your
desire to join a stable company because you want growth opportunities.)

Even though you're proud of your work history, referencing "30 years" of experience screams
"older worker" and it'll often knock you out of the running in this market. Swap that for
"experienced" without number of years.

"People person" is too vague -- it could be a teacher, a nurse, a sales associate or any number
of jobs. A better version: "Experienced financial manager with demonstrated success in
maintaining the accuracy and integrity of corporate financials. Well-established ability to
manage and problem solve effectively. Passion rooted in non-profit services." In very few
words, any reader can instantly understand what this person does.

Mind the gaps.

If you haven't worked since early 2009, for example, consider eliminating months from your
resume and use years instead. If your resume indicates that your last position was ended in
January 2009, it's clear that you've been out for 19 months. If you drop the month and simply
list an end date of 2009, you may have been out of work for only eight months. It's not a lie;
just smart spin at first glance.

Don't rehash responsibilities.

Bullets on a resume shouldn't read like a job description; instead, they should read like a
celebration of accomplishments. Forget generic because it doesn't convey any sense of
competency or success. Ask yourself what sets you apart from others who've held the same
role and performed the same duties. For example, "responsible for the budget," should be
replaced with "oversaw the management of $2 million annual budget, ensuring precise
reporting of actuals against budget. Discovered redundancies that resulted in savings of nearly
$100,000." One is vague, while the other is a specific reflection of the scope of the work and

Focus on keywords.

Before submitting your resume for a specific opening, print out the job postings that you're
interested in pursuing. Use a highlighter to mark the keywords and industry language used to
describe the requirements and responsibilities of each position. Compare those words and
phrases to the language that appears in your current resume. Figure out how and where to
add the most relevant keywords to your resume, assuming you have the specific knowledge,
skills and experience. Applicant tracking systems will search for keyword matches -- the more
matches, the better, which often determines if a recruiter opts to view your resume. Once
you're confident that your resume reflects a strong match, submit that targeted resume online.

Tory's Web Extra Tips

Don't rely on spell check.

We all know that spell check won't catch "of" instead of "off," which means you can't rely on it
for spelling, grammar or punctuation on your resume. Read each line from bottom to top.
Step away from it for a day and review again.

Don't go too far back
In rare instances will your work history from the '80s be relevant, so leave it off. Devote the
most space to highlighting the positions you've held for the last 10 to 15 years. Similarly unless
you finished in the last five years, don't include dates of graduation.

Submit on company websites over big job boards.

Take a minute to see if postings found on big job boards also appear directly on a company's
website. If so, submit your resume to the company site instead of submitting on a big job
board. Why? It shows you're interested in that organization, not just any job in your field.

Find people in addition to positions.

Once you apply, get to work to find internal referrals to make a personal introduction. There
are many ways to do this: network among people you know, search on LinkedIn, Facebook or
Twitter, search contacts through alumni associations, and attend job fairs.

Follow up.

The worst thing you can do is submit your resume online -- and wait ... and wait and wait for
the phone to ring. Follow up with a call or email to the recruiter responsible for filling the
position. Never say, "Did you get my resume?" Instead be ready to reiterate your strong
qualifications and interest in the role. You'll have just a brief moment to sell yourself, so
rehearse before making the call or sending the email.

Be Persistent But Don't Pester

Don't know the name of the right person? Cold-call the company and ask an operator to put
you through. If that doesn't work, Google the term "recruiter" or "human resource director"
along with the name of your employer of choice. The results may reveal the name you're trying
to find.

LinkedIn is another resource to find the correct name. Every recruiter is different, which
makes this a challenge. Some say you're welcome to follow up weekly. Others say every other
week is enough. And then there are some who'll tell you to never call. Find the right balance so
you're politely persistent without crossing over to a pest.

Ask directly for advice on how and when to follow up. A simple question, "What's the best way
to keep in touch?" will give you the details you need to stay ahead of the competition.

Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor on "Good Morning America." Connect with her at or or

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