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Avoid the Top Ten Resume Mistakes

"Avoid the Top Ten Resume Mistakes

By Peter Newfield

Your boss has annoyed you for the last time. You're going to look for another job and move on. You turn to the blank computer screen in front of you and start writing your resume.

Avoid the Top Ten Resume Mistakes

Your Resume - A Passport to a Better Job

How to Write A Scannable Resume

How hard can that be? Apparently, it's a task not to be undertaken lightly. Most resumes circulating in cyberspace and on paper are terrible and actually do more harm than good for the prospective job seeker. How can you avoid resume mistakes? Let's look in on our fictional co-worker to see where the mistakes are lurking!

1. UNDERGRAD FORMAT -- If the guy in the next cubicle is writing his resume in the same style that he's used since college graduation, he'll lose. The old curriculum vitae, or block style, format with "Objective" and "Education" listed on top are not appropriate for anyone with more than three years of professional work experience. Much more effective is a 3- to 5-line overview of your unique professional strengths.

2. NO DATES -- Our friend has jumped around a lot and does not want prospective employers to think he's a flake. So he lists the companies but eliminates the dates for each position. Wrong! Leaving dates off your resume will surely cause eyebrows to raise and make people wonder what you've been up to lately.

3. FACTS BUT NO PIZZAZZ -- Mr. Job Seeker has listed his responsibilities under each job title. But what separates him from the crowd? A great resume should include accomplishments and achievements that you have been instrumental in making happen. Increased widget sales by 65% in six months! Brought in 15 new clients with total billings in excess of $100,000! Don't be afraid to brag a little -- just be honest. 

4. HITHER AND YON -- Our co-worker has changed fields more than models change outfits at a fashion show. His resume looks like a jumble of job listings. If you have experience in more than one field and it needs to be included on the résumé, consider grouping the types of jobs together under specific headings such as "Instructional/Training" or "Customer Service/Sales." 

5. GRUDGE FACTOR -- Don't include the reasons you've left or are  leaving your job. Do not mention "sexual harassment," "lawsuit,"  "workers compensation claim," or "fired me for no good reason." Some  situations are better explained in person, if at all.  

6. PERSONAL INFO -- No one cares if you are single, married, play  the trombone, or enjoy league bowling. Personal information does not  belong on a resume. Do not include your age, race, gender, or blue  ribbons for gardening.  

7. LONG-WINDED HISTORY --Only your relatives have the patience to  read through every job you've held since stocking groceries in high  school. Prospective employers want to know what RELEVANT EXPERIENCE  you've had in the past 10-12 years. Highlight the most recent jobs and  consolidate the past into several lines on a strong 1- or 2-page resume.  

8. SLOPPINESS -- Our friend is in such a hurry to find a new job  that he thinks printing the resume on green or orange paper will get him  noticed fast. He'll get noticed -- and then dropped in the circular  file! There is a coffee ring stain on the hand-written envelope, which  also happens to have the return address of his current employer in the  corner -- No, no, no. Looks count!  

9. NO APPROPRIATE TARGET -- Just because our co-worker is fed up  today and wants to find a new job A.S.A.P. doesn't mean that he should  send a resume to every ad that appeared in the Sunday newspaper! Take  the time to target the jobs for which you really have a chance of being  interviewed. Does your level of experience match the requirements  listed?  

10. NO REASON FOR SENDING RESUME --Once you have carefully checked  over your professionally written resume to ensure that the salient  points mentioned above have been addressed, don't forget one of the most  important adjuncts to a good resume -- THE COVER LETTER. In the cover  letter, you have the chance to state why you are sending your resume to  this company and for what specific position. Don't make people guess as  to why you have sent them your resume -- make it clear right up front."

Copyright 2004 - Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on Monster, the leading online global network for careers. To see other career-related articles visit <http://content.monster.com>.

<Note from JobFairy.com: One - don't do this at work. Scannable? Who does paper anymore? Just follow the template and you'll avoid all these mistakes, and more.>

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