Career Advice

5 Things Not To Do On Your Resume

1. List every task you perform. If your role as an administrative assistant requires you handle everything from preparing coffee in the morning to collaborating with your boss on financial reports in the afternoon, then focus on the report creating and not the coffee making. Resumes are strategic marketing pieces aimed at selling your value, not a laundry list of duties.

2. Forget to Connect the Dots for the Reader. Once you’ve identified strategic report building as an important resume add, you must then translate the value of the financial reports to the reader. Pave a path that begins with your role in gathering data from department managers, organizing that information into a meaningful Excel spreadsheet and then plotting out charts and graphs.

Show how those reports and graphs helped whomever was reviewing the reports make better decisions in regard to sales goals, customer relationship management or cost cutting, whatever the case may be.

What you are trying to succinctly, yet meaningfully accomplish is show the person reading your resume ‘why’ your experience building reports benefited your current company, and how it will likewise, benefit them.

Ideally, you will paint a picture of how your contribution was essential to the organization achieving specific, quantifiable ($ or # or %) growth goals.

3. Be Boring. Using the same word to begin each sentence; i.e., “developed” this; “developed” that feel tedious and blah to most readers. The role of a resume is more than just checking off a requirement in your job search. Instead, the resume must also prove out your abilities to communicate effectively, and with verve.

So, when you find your words repeating, make an effort to embolden your language with synonyms that stir senses. You may even find that restructuring sentences and paragraphs will help organically reduce the number of repeating words. For example, instead of saying, “developed new team approach with expanded communications,” you might instead lead with, “positioned company for double-digit customer increase by driving new team approach with expanded communications … etc.”

4. Be Passive. Instead of passively and vaguely stating that you were “responsible for a successful branding program,” assert that you “modernized a branded program crucial to marketplace expansion from covering single regional territory to selling ABC widgets in all 50 states in the U.S.”

5. Try to Hit Two Job Targets. If you have been successful in two parallel and/or distinctive careers in the past, that’s great, but going forward, for the purpose of your resume, pick one area of focus. Resumes, like other marketing communications, are intended to appeal to a specific audience that has particular types of needs and wants. When you use one resume to beseech two different types of hiring managers to contact you, your message likely will fall short with both readers. Instead, get tuned in to your next-step career goals and then go for it, with focused gusto!