Your resumé (or your curriculum vitae, if you prefer things to be a little more Latin) is how you advertise yourself to an employer. On one hand, it’s a list of facts and figures - the hard data that shows what you have done and what you hope to do in the future. However, the essence of a good resumé is in the sections that occur between the facts and figures.
Given how commonplace writing a resumé is, it’s staggering that so many people get it wrong. This is a document that can win you the career of your dreams, but it can also let you down and become a nightmare. Whether you’re applying for a promotion in your existing company, scanning sites like Simply Education for a life-changing vocational challenge or just applying for a weekend job in a café, you need your resumé to be a good reflection of you. So if it has any of the following issues, it might be time for a rethink.
Resumé Ruiner #1: It’s Just A List Of Fact
On one level, a resumé has to just be a list of facts - that’s its purpose. But if it’s just a list of facts, then everything blurs into one another.
So, as an example, let’s say you were Queen of the World for three years and you put it on your resumé as such:
2011 - 2014, Queen of The World
… and that’s it. What an employer actually wants to see is what you took from a role, what you excelled at, what you learned, and why you left. So you’d be better off writing:
2011 - 2016, Queen of The World
During my time in this position, I learned how to handle many tasks. My daily role involved going through issues the world was facing and agreeing suggestions. I learned to take advice from others while also trusting my own judgment to make final decisions. I left the role due to a move into another position.
That’s useful information. A basic list of where you worked isn’t going to cut it: what did you do there? How did you do it? What skills did it teach you? Include a small paragraph with each job detailing this and your resumé will come to life.
Resumé Ruiner #2: You Lie
Surveys show that a frighteningly high number of people lie on their resumé. You might think it’s harmless to bump up a grade from school or exaggerate your experience within an industry, but think it through: what if a potential employer asks for evidence? You might ruin an opportunity for no reason because you have to confess to a falsehood. Don’t do it: the stakes are too high.
Resumé Ruiner #3: You Have A Standard Resumé
There’s probably a file sitting on your computer right now that is your resumé and you send it with every job application. This is an error. Every time you apply for something, tailor your resumé to fit. Emphasise the areas you have experience in that are most relevant to the post you’re applying for. If it’s a café job you’re going for, they don’t need to see a list of all the computer tech qualifications you have. Lengthen certain sections and shorten others, tailoring it to the job you’re focusing on. Not doing so is not only irrelevant, but can expose you as lazy - not a good quality in a potential employee!