When it comes to your resume there are really very few things that you need it to do for you: highlight your value, identify you as the prime candidate, and get you an interview. That’s it. Pretty simple. However, there are a few things your resume should not do that you need to keep in mind when creating your resume.
Your resume should not be overly personal. One of the main functions of your resume is to highlight your value; the easiest way to do that is to showcase your personal brand and unique accomplishments in order to stand out from the crowd. However, this is not the time to stand out from the crowd by promoting your individuality and personality. You might be wondering how it’s possible to stand out without putting your personality on display. Your resume should be kept strictly professional; this means that personality identifiers such as hobbies, interests, pictures, and gimmicks should be left off of your resume. Whenever I come across a client that includes these things on their resume it is always because they think it makes them seem more interesting and believe it gives an employer a look at another side of them. A prospective employer does not need to see anything but your professional side.
Your resume should not be treated as a career biography. Typically, including fifteen years of previous employment is sufficient. Of course there are exceptions but the typical job seeker does not need to give the complete history of every job they’ve ever held. A hiring manager is not going to care about your first job at the corner music store back in high school – no matter how well you alphabetized the cds. Unless for you ‘back in high school’ was last year; in that case you would want to draw upon the experience but I’m talking about those of us who graduated from high school long, long ago. Providing an extensive, non-relevant job history is only going to bore the person reading it. Focus on your recent experience and how you can transfer those skills into the new position.
Your resume should not be all encompassing. There is no such thing as a one size fits all resume. If you try to include your experience as a sales associate, chef, entrepreneur, and circus clown you will end up with a resume that lacks focus and therefore will not be an effective tool in your job search. It is not uncommon for job seekers to have a varied career background but when it comes to your resume you need to tailor it to meet the specifics of the job you are applying for. Easy to do if your background is all in the same field but if you do have a varied background like I mentioned previously you will need to identify the transferable skills that can be applied regardless of where you acquired them.
Consider your resume and whether it contains any of the above should nots. For the most effective resume you will want to eliminate them and replace them with content that will leverage your strengths and enhance the likelihood of getting the interview.
by Megan Koehler