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Employers Do Not Want to See This on Your Resume

Posted by Rob Riggins

In many cases, your resume serves as your first impression to recruiters and hiring managers. And as first impressions go, you only get one. So check your cyber security resume today to make sure it’s as effective as it should be, and that you’re not communicating any of the following errors:

Personal data. Things like your social security number (yes this really still happens!), height, weight, number of children, religion, etc. We had someone come to a job fair with a resume that touted his weight loss. While that is an accomplishment, it’s not one that belongs on your resume.

Granular detail. This issue often goes hand-in-hand with thinking of your resume as a biography, which it is not. It’s an ad to get you an interview. Consider that very, very few jobs are asking for someone with more than 10 years’ experience. What you did 15, 20 or 25 years ago should be referenced briefly and succinctly. For those transitioning out of the military, only list the training that is relevant to what you want to do. If you’re in IT, focus on the technologies that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Long lists of responsibilities. You may have led a team, programmed in Java, moved $50M of equipment around the world, but what was the impact of your actions? What did these actions accomplish? Everyone in a job has responsibilities, but that doesn’t communicate that you accomplished anything or were any good. What results can you show from the responsibilities you were given? Focus on actual accomplishments that show an employer what you can do for them.

Puffery. Don’t puff up your resume by implying things that aren’t true. If you reference a technology, include how many years’ experience you have vs simply including it in a list with no context. With education, be clear about whether you graduated or just attended that impressively-named school. If you’re working on your PMP or other certifications, absolutely include them on your resume, but be very clear that they are in progress. If you worked as part of a team on a project, be sure to put that in context vs taking credit for what the team as a whole accomplished.

Clutter. If your resume is hard to read with dense paragraphs and tiny type, it will not be read. Your goal is a clean resume, with a simple font and adequate white space. Now more than ever an initial review of your resume is a scan vs a close read. You want your accomplishments to pop, not be buried in a dense paragraph.

References. Don’t include your references on your resume. Even including “References available upon request” is unnecessary, as it’s assumed. Save that space for communicating more relevant information.

A cover letter. Well this isn’t exactly correct. What they don’t want to see is a resume accompanied by a cover letter that has no substance, just as they don’t want a resume with no substance. If you’re writing a cover letter – and if the job posting asks for one you absolutely should do so – it’s your chance to share more detail about how your accomplishments solve the hiring manager’s problems. Read How to Write a Cover Letter that Matters for more details.

One thing recruiters and hiring managers absolutely do want to see on your resume is contact information! At almost every job fair we see an individual with a resume that lacks an email address and phone number. Don’t let this be you. While we noted many things to avoid in your resume, your contact information is key to landing that next great job on the horizon.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 8:00 am

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