Think of your resume as the document that introduces you to a potential employer. Do you want it to scream "Whassuuup!"? Or would you prefer it says, "Hello, I'm Dan and it's very nice to meet you."
Yes, you want to make an impact, but you don't want to come off as obnoxious. Your resume should introduce you to your potential employer in a way that puts your best foot forward, not one that puts you screaming in his or her face.
There are numerous mistakes and traps that can cause your resume to get passed over. If you avoid them and focus on showcasing the best you possible, you'll have a better chance of landing an interview, and ultimately getting the job.
1. Don't lie, or even exaggerate
It's sometimes tempting to overstate your accomplishments. Maybe you were part of a project that led to $5 million in new sales and $2 million in cost savings. You may even feel like you were the most important part of that project.
If, however, you weren't actually the project lead, don't claim you were. It's fine to just say that you were a "key part of a project that increased sales by 5% while cutting expenses by the same amount."
It's also very important to not lie about degrees, certifications, or other accomplishments. In our digital era, you will get caught.
2. Check your email
Your friends may all know you as Mr. Chug, and being email@example.com is a perfectly fine email address to use privately. On your resume, however, it's important to have a professional email address. Some version of your name is best, but whatever you pick make sure it's conservative and bland.
3. Be careful with objectives
In general, I'm not a fan of someone putting an objective on their resume -- it very rarely adds anything or tells you much about the person. If you have one, though, make sure it avoids both of these traps.
First, don't tailor it absurdly to the job you're applying for. "I want to be associate sales director for Company Co. because it meets my career goals." All of that is clear simply because you applied for the position.
Second, don't target your objective to some far-off goal that has nothing to do with the job you're applying for. Back when I hired newspaper reporters, a surprising number of people listed some other form of writing (plays, books, movies) as their goal. That basically told me they were settling for the job I was hiring for.
4. Don't be sloppy
Everyone has access to a computer with a word processor. Because of that, there's no excuse for spelling mistakes. You should also have your resume checked over by a professional. If you don't know a talented editor, it's easy to find one on the internet. At the very least, have multiple smart people check your work.
Your resume stands in for you
As you put the finishing touches on your resume, read it over and decide if it presents your background in the same way you would. You want to make sure that if you get an interview the person who shows up will be the same one your resume sold.
You will ultimately get hired (or not hired) based on who you are and what you have accomplished. Use your resume to introduce both to your prospective employer.
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