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Job-Hunting? Common Resume Errors to Avoid

Improve your resume by avoiding these common resume errors -- errors that often doom a job-seeker's success in attaining job interviews, job offers. Fix your resume and see better job-searching results!

1. Typos and Misspellings. For many employers, having an error of any kind on your resume is a deal breaker; your resume's journey ends in the trash. It's even harsher for job-seekers who claim to have expertise in written communications and/or attention to detail.

Run spellchecker, of course, but also spend a copious amount of time carefully reviewing the entire document, including names of organizations listed on your resume. Proofreading is an art form; but the key to success is examining each word, not reading the document.

Look especially for typos that are correctly spelled, but simply the wrong word choice. For example, here are a few common typos on job-seeker resumes:

- Planed, instead of planned
- Manger, instead of manager
- Lead, instead of led
- There, instead of their
- It's, instead of its

2. Focused on Duties Instead of Accomplishments/Results. Prospective employers do not care that you performed your job duties; instead, they want to see your accomplishments -- how and what you achieved.

Some occupations, such as sales, are geared more toward obvious accomplishments, but all job-seekers should be able to identify accomplishments, from attendance and safety records, to efficiency and effectiveness numbers, to cost-savings and profitability achievements.

Your goal is to examine each work experience and determine how you went above and beyond expectations and job duties; how you made each experience your own.

Once you've identified some accomplishments, put them in this format on your resume: active verb that describes your experience accompanied by some (quantified) result.

Blue collar example: Achieved a zero-accident rating for 44 straight months while running warehouse forklift machinery.

While collar example: Managed a 15 percent reduction in annual office supply expenditures by implementing an online, standardized order processing system.

3. Lacking Specifics, Quantified Results, Action Verbs. Employers want to see specifics. If your resume is too vague about your accomplishments, why should an employer be interested?

First, brainstorm what makes you the ideal candidate for the job you are seeking. Flush out -- and show -- your key skills, accomplishments, training that make you the best candidate.

Second, whenever possible quantify your accomplishments. Rather than saying, managed a staff of accountants, say managed a staff of 25 accountants.

Third, make your accomplishments pop with action verbs -- strong, descriptive verbs. Worked is a weak verb. Managed, Assessed, Fabricated, Designed, Formulated, Coordinated, Administered, Negotiated, Analyzed, Overhauled, and the like are all strong, active verbs you can use to describe your experience. See a favorite list of action verbs.

4. Generalized Approach Rather Than Tailored Resume. A decade or two ago, a job-seeker could have gotten away with one version of his/her resume. Today's (successful) job-seeker must tailor EACH resume to the specific job and employer.

Start with developing a solid foundational resume -- one with all the essential sections, focused on accomplishments and highlighting key education/training. See this article: Job-Hunting? Five Essential Elements Job-Seeker Resumes.

As you go to apply to a posted job opening, highlight the key qualifications the employer seeks; study the posting for keywords and phrases the employer uses to describe the ideal candidate; then go to the employer's website and find additional words the employer uses to describe itself, its culture, and its workforce.

Modify your foundational resume to showcase how your experience matches the qualifications the employer seeks (especially in your Summary section) and sprinkle the keywords and phrases the employer uses to describe yourself (assuming they are accurate/true).

5. Visually Unappealing/Unattractive. Job-seekers do not need to hire a graphic designer to help with a resume, but an over-crowded, ugly resume is certainly a deterrent to getting an interview.

Most job-seekers try to cram too much onto a resume, especially when trying to fit it all on one page, so your mantra must be: edit, edit, edit. Remove superfluous and irrelevant information. Identify what is most important to the employer and cut the excess.

Keep margins and font size standard. Use black ink (and perhaps one other color to highlight). Make your name large and bold. Be consistent in your headings and bullet style.

EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower people to achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+, as well as Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.


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