4 TIPS AND COMMON FAILS REVEALED
As a Talent Acquisition Specialist (a fancy title for recruiter), my friends frequently ask me to either write their resumes or seek advice on how to write their own. Although I would love to personally assist everyone in their quest to create the perfect resume, I decided a better way to start would be to answer the top four questions I receive and also address some of the more frequent mistakes made by young people entering the workforce.
1. DOES SIZE MATTER? WELL FOR 6-8 SECONDS IT DOES.
With resumes, yes size does matter. It seems that there is a common misconception that bigger is better when it comes to resumes. Think of your resume as an elevator pitch. You should give enough to the recruiter to gain their interest, but not too much that they are overwhelmed.
As a high volume recruiter, I receive hundreds to thousands of resumes each month. Initially, I may review a resume for six to eight seconds. Often, recent college graduates will send resumes that are three-pages in length. Three pages! You just graduated! Many of my colleagues in the industry will agree, when you are hiring for an entry-level position, and you come across a three-page resume, your initial reaction is to “swipe left.”
If you are a recent graduate and applying for an entry-level position, stick with one concise page. I recommend asking a friend to take 10 seconds to review your resume. Then ask them to give you a synopsis. If what they say does not accurately portray what you want to convey, then back to the drawing board.
Start with the essentials. A basic format should include contact information, work experience, education, and position related organizational memberships. So, in this case the perfect size is one eight by eleven inch page.
2. WHAT ARE THE TURN-OFFS?
I have seen some crazy resumes, one of which was mailed to me written on a rubber duck! Another had a picture printed on a postcard that resembled more of a Tinder profile than a resume. However, some of the main turn-offs of a resume are simple.
A majority of candidates do not take the time to tailor their resumes. They simply provide a cookie cutter format for every job application. Recruiters notice this, especially when your generic resume does not reflect the experience needed for the job opening. Many times, recruiters actually write the job descriptions. Use this to your advantage. Read the job posting carefully and identify the key characteristics the recruiters are searching for in a candidate. Make sure your experience shines through.
Tailoring your resume for a specific position is recommended, but don’t go overboard. The size and formatting should remain the same, but changing your bullet points to reflect the experience you have and how it’s related to a specific role could assist you in landing the job. This trick is to have that added touch that makes you stand out, but not stick out.
Bucket of Lies
Lying on your resume is another big turn-off. After conducting several hundred interviews, I have become a bit of a human lie detector. Recruiters do not like liars. When reviewing resumes for entry-level positions, it’s easy to spot lies or red flags. For example, if you are applying for an entry-level job, but your previous title was “Director” or “CEO,” the alarm bells begin to ring. There is a huge difference in tailoring a resume and lying on a resume.
There is a simple threshold. If you don’t have the experience you are claiming or the job title is not yours, then it is a lie. Recruiters expect some people to bend the truth from time to time, but when you lie, it is a one-way ticket to receiving an email that includes, “Although we were very impressed with your qualifications…” Remember, recruiters have a lot of knowledge in this area and we know the difference between lies and experience.
If you do bend the truth a touch, always remember that you are going to have to live up to the expectations you set. Don’t ruin a good thing, by establishing unrealistic expectations with your potential employer. Any shortcomings will come to light within the first six months of your employment. Therefore, it is best to stick with the truth and highlight your actual abilities that can be developed.
Finally, before you send out your resume, check your e-mail address. The e-mail address you thought was so witty when you were in college, doesn’t work anymore in the professional world. I have reviewed many impressive resumes, but then I see an email address in the contact section that would be more appropriate for a Zoosk username.
This seems to be an extremely common mistake made by applicants of all ages. I appreciate you are willing to express yourself, but save that for a more private setting. The best way to write an outstanding resume is to stick with a professional mindset. The more conservative you are with your contact information, the better, unless you are confident that your inappropriate email address will be a smashing success – [email protected]
The best way to build your resume when you don’t have the proper professional experience is to volunteer!
3. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A RESUME?
Remember, recruiters initially spend as much time reviewing a resume as you would a Snapchat. Organization and consistency are important. Verify your job titles are consistently in the same position and that you use the same font size and style throughout your resume. This conveniently allows the recruiter to quickly review your employment experience without having to search for your titles. Titles should be easy to read and an appropriate size, a touch larger than your descriptive sections.
Your resume should reflect your organizational skills and professionalism. There is a time and place for unique and creative resumes, but generally speaking a well-formatted tailored resume will yield higher dividends than a rubber duck. Choose a standard easy to read font. Again, recruiters can be lie detectors, but we should not have to decipher a crazy font. This could be the difference between a recruiter accurately reading your resume or swiping to the next one. Lastly, color choice is important, this is a special occasion, so stick with a black font. I am not old by any means, but orange and light green fonts are very difficult to read!
4. WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH WORK EXPERIENCE?
When recruiters review resumes for entry-level positions, they are not seeking highly experienced candidates. Instead, we are seeking candidates that are worth developing into highly qualified employees. So, don’t stress on being someone you aren’t or afraid to apply due to your unrealistic expectations of what is needed.
The best way to build your resume when you don’t have the proper professional experience is to volunteer! This is an excellent way to gain practical experience and connections without a full-time commitment. If you want to work in a specific field, then seek out local volunteering opportunities where you can obtain applicable experience. If you want to stand out from the herd of hundreds of applicants, get volunteering today! When it comes down to you and another candidate with the same educational experience, practical volunteerism or internships will give you the edge you need to hear, “Welcome aboard!”
So remember, focus on the basics. Skip the crazy fonts and colors. It is about getting your foot in the door, not having it slammed in your face. Work on consistently showing your skills that can be developed, not your lack of experience or lies. This is not an easy task and can take some time, but properly writing a resume can make the difference between obtaining a solid job and getting a rejection letter. Start today, and show the recruiters, you are a well-educated, resourceful, caring individual, that is worth a phone call and a first day at their organization.
Do you need more meaningful experience for your resume? Find great volunteer and internship opportunities with NobleHour.
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. With its robust online platform, NobleHour enhances community engagement with a variety of innovative and transformative tools for finding, tracking, and measuring volunteer, service‐learning, and community service initiatives. With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the NobleHour team is dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
By NobleHour Special Contributor:
Taylor Bradley, M.A.
New York, NY
Taylor Bradley is an International Talent Acquisition Specialist. He enjoys writing and sharing his experiences, successes, and failures as a young professional for the betterment of others. Taylor is actively pursuing a second degree in HR Management. He has traveled to all 50 states and approximately 45 countries, many of which he visited as a volunteer for the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other related NGOs.