This week, Sam reveals the biggest mistake she believes people are making on their resumes.
Dear Sam: If you had to pinpoint one issue with resumes today, what would you say it is?
Dear Steven: Wow, just one? That’s challenging, as there are many mistakes committed on the majority of resumes. I suppose if I had to choose, it would be that a large percentage of resumes still do not contain Qualifications Summaries, and instead waste space disclosing a vague objective that serves no purpose.
Defining your purpose is critically important to the development of a Qualifications Summary, but instead of simply stating your objective, this section — along with everything else on your resume — should be developed to sell yourself for the type of roles you are seeking. Do this by presenting a brief summary of your key qualifiers related to your primary objective. Engage the reader by understanding the keywords for the position of interest, and infusing those keywords throughout this summary and the remainder of your resume.
The Qualifications Summary is the most difficult section of a resume to write, as it is a high-level summary of your candidacy. As a tip, write your resume from the bottom up, beginning with the easier sections. Write the Qualifications Summary last while your background, qualifications and education are fresh in your mind, and you’ll have a clearer picture of what you have to offer your target audience.
If you are still struggling with this section, check out books from the library or ask someone to help you identify your key offerings and value.
I could write a novel on the mistakes I see, but this is definitely a big problem candidates face in developing their personal brand.
Dear Sam: I would be interested in having you critique my resume. I know I need to make some changes, but I am not sure what would be the best solution for my personal job search situation. I am 57 years old with a bachelor's degree and 15-plus years of sales experience.
I have experienced some adversities over the past several years with my employers facing infrastructure issues, financial problems, management restructuring and reorganization. I seem to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time with many employers. But, I have the professional ability and qualifications to be a true asset to a good, strong and growing company.
Dear Barbara: You are presenting 22 years of experience on your resume when most hiring managers expect to see about 10 to 15. You could easily trim the picture by omitting your pre-2002 experience, leaving you with a solid 15-year work history between 2002-2017.
When writing about these four roles, revamp your approach to include highlights of the value you delivered. Currently, with just a few bullet points presented under each experience, not only do your key sales results lack prominence, but there also is little focus on how you differentiated yourself in each of those positions.
Update your content while also creating a more energetic, personality-laden resume format. Your format is unfortunately dating your candidacy given it is void of any design. Also, opening with an Objective Statement is a thing of the past — Qualifications Summaries are more effective.