5 Things You Might be Getting WRONG on Your Resume & How to Fix Them
Your resume isn’t just a document with your career history listed on it. It’s a marketing tool to help you land your next job. Whether you haven’t touched your resume in weeks, months, or even years or you’ve been working on it recently, here are a few mistakes I see as a Career Coach that are avoidable and will help you land your next interview.
The resume format should be clean and simple with consistent and easy-to-read font, sizing, and spacing. Your best bet is to stick with a traditional, old-fashioned-style resume. Here are a few reasons why:
If you are applying to medium to larger-sized companies, chances are your resume is up against an applicant tracking system (ATS). ATS is computer software that reads your resume before it even gets into the hands of a human. Traditional style resumes are more ATS compliant-friendly than modern style resumes. Resumes with columns, such as the Adobe style resume, don’t read well through ATS because the software reads left to right. That means if there are columns in the resume the ATS is reading the resume incorrectly.
There are many biases towards resumes. Hiring managers want to see something polished and professional. The modern style resumes don’t come across as either for many hiring managers.
Traditional style resumes have been around for a long time. That means when a hiring manager goes to look at the resume they know almost exactly where the information they want to find is. The modern, creative resumes out there are confusing. Information is all over the place. If you lose the attention of your hiring manager because they can’t find the information they are looking for, then you’ve just lost your chances of getting the interview.
2. Bullets read like thoughts instead of strong, complete sentences
More often than not, I see resumes with bullet points that read like thoughts, ideas, or placeholders. Bullets like this are not enough to create an enticing, eye-catching, competitive resume. Instead, the Experience section in your resume should have clear, strong, concise sentences that let the reader know what was accomplished and how it was done. Even better- include how accomplishments are measured in dollars or percentages.
3. There’s too much information
We work HARD in the hospitality industry. So it’s natural to want to showcase all of your hard work and accomplishments. However, there is such a thing as too much information on the resume. By only going back 10 years on the resume you keep the document relevant. There are circumstances where you may want to go back further, such as if you have some experience 10+ years ago that is more relevant to the jobs you are applying for. But if you’ve been on a natural trajectory in your career, going back approximately 10 years will suffice.
Also, stay away from adding sections to your resume that are not relevant to the jobs you are applying for. For instance, if you won the 2017 National Pickling Competition then congratulations- that’s awesome! However, unless you are applying for a job at a pickling company, it does not need to be on your resume.
4. The writer isn’t writing towards the role they are applying for
The information on your resume should include what is relevant for the specific role you are applying for as well as your audience. So many resumes I review are written with the candidate’s career history in mind. But that’s not the only thing to consider when writing a resume. You also need to think about the role you are applying for. What are the requirements of the job? What are the responsibilities listed in the job description? How can you show that you’ve done these tasks even if you’ve never held the position before?
5. Spelling, grammatical errors, and tense
Last but not least, don’t skip proofreading your resume! Best of all, ask someone else to read it for you. Ensure correct spelling of words, proper use of grammar, and consistency of tense used throughout the resume. It’s also important to make sure the resume has a nice flow to it when reading. Does each line read well from one line/bullet to the next? Is the information clear and concise?
Kathy Hubler is a Career and Development Coach at Ladies Against the Grain, where she specializes in helping women in the food, service, and hospitality industries to find freedom, energy, and a zest for life through a career they love! Kathy is a Certified Life Coach (CLC), prior to that she worked in some of the world’s best restaurants in New York City after getting her associate’s degree from The Culinary Institute of America and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, specializing in the yummiest scholarly topic ever, “The Science and Culture of Foods of Italy.”