You’ve spell-checked your resume and rid it of any typos, but that may not be enough. A good resume is more than correct punctuation and a list of your duties. The five items below indicate you might be sending out a bad resume that won’t get results. But fear not! We’ll tell you how to transform your resume from bad to good in no time.
Signs of a Bad Resume
- Includes Generalizations
A bad resume isn’t specific about your background and skills. For example, you might have experience in ecommerce, but that doesn’t tell a hiring manager the exact experience you have. To make a bad resume an outstanding one, hone your description to specify if it was business-to-consumer (B2C) experience, business-to-business (B2B) experience, or both.
Similarly, when talking about your skills, you want to include specific keywords from the job posting. Try to avoid general buzzwords like “team player” unless you have a distinct example of how you’re a team player.
- Doesn’t Quantify Accomplishments
A bad resume lacks both measurable and individualized outcomes. Instead of listing the tasks you perform or talking about your company’s accomplishments, explain how you used your skills to create measurable results for your employer. Here are some examples:
- Recruited five people for sales and marketing
- Increased sales by 25% in the first year
- Led redesign and launch of internal website
- Omits Dates
While you might be tempted to omit dates from your resume to either camouflage job hopping or to deal with ageism in your job search, not including them is often a red flag for recruiters.
Make sure you list the month and year of your employment dates. This helps clarify to the hiring manager exactly how long you were in the role. If you say you worked at XYZ company from 2016 to 2017, there’s no way to know if you worked there for almost two years (January 2016 to December 2017) or just one month (December 2016 to January 2017).
If you’re concerned a recruiter will reject you because of job hopping, resume gaps, or anything else, you can choose a resume format to help you handle those concerns as honestly as possible.
- Dull Resume Summary
Your resume summary should be brief but also pack a powerful punch. Because this section is at the top of your resume, it’s usually the first thing that the recruiter sees, so take advantage of that. Saying something like, “Talented, self-motivated leader with a track record of success” is OK but isn’t very specific.
Try to incorporate action verbs and be specific about why you do what you do to transform your summary statement into something compelling and to help the hiring manager quickly understand how you’ll put your skills to work for them.
- Poor Formatting
Including things like columns or graphics can turn your fabulous resume into a bad one.
For starters, if the company uses an applicant tracking system (ATS), columns and graphics are hard for these bots to read, making it less likely your application will be reviewed by a human. Even if the company doesn’t use an ATS, poorly formatted resumes are hard to read on a mobile device or don’t open properly on the recipient’s end.
Transform a bad resume into a good one with some thoughtful formatting. Here are some quick tips to get you started:
- Keep your resume between one and two pages long
- Use bullet points for your experiences and accomplishments to avoid a block of hard-to-read text
- Check that your resume opens properly and is readable in numerous formats (.pdf, .png, .docx, for example)
- Use a font that’s easy for humans and machines to read
From Bad to Outstanding
In addition to creating a customized resume each time you apply to a role, avoiding these five missteps will help take your resume from bad to outstanding. And an outstanding resume will help you stand out from the rest of the crowd!
If you want even more advice on how- to make your resume outstanding, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our in-house experts will give you some personalized tips on how to make your resume the best it can be.
By Rachel Pelta