Your resume/CV, combined with a LinkedIn profile, is your best introduction to someone who could be a key influencer in your career transition and advancement.
Here are the top 13 Executive Resume errors to avoid in order to attract the maximum intrigue and impact.
- Stating Your Age
A hiring authority has no right to know your age due to various country-based statutes and anti-discrimination legislation, so don’t place your age on your resume.
- Unprofessional Email
There is no excuse to have an email address that doesn’t epitomize your professionalism. Some emails have been highly embarrassing and instantly make me question that person’s ability to remain professional in their business dealings. It’s so easy today to set up a professional email address using the free services providers (primarily Gmail) within a few minutes.
If you have to have numbers in your email due to running out of options with your name, don’t use your year of birth. Steer clear.
- Personal Pronouns
It’s too common to see the words “I”, “my”, “her” or “she” in a resume. Leave them out, there is no place for them in a resume/CV.
- Graphics, Charts, Headers/Footers and Photographs
A resume is rarely read by human eyes today. It is scanned into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) where it is processed. Any graphic, chart or photograph within the body of the resume distorts the application’s programming and interferes with the elements required to search for your talent. Therefore, your resume will be bypassed even though you may be the perfect candidate.
Any text within a header or footer is never transcribed by the ATS. If your name, address and contacts are in a header, these vital details will be eliminated.
- Poor Grammar and Spelling
There are no excuses today for typos with the advent of spell check. Even so, you should always have your resume reviewed by peers, friends or family. One mistake can raise a red flag and create doubt about your attention to detail, time management and your interest in the position.
MS Word offers you a choice of so many fonts. Your choice of font is another resume component that should be regarded seriously. Times New Roman and other sans serif fonts are dated and should generally be avoided. However, you should also steer clear of the squiggly, fancy and calligraphy style fronts. Theses are difficult for the human eye to read, but even more difficult for the ATS scanning.
You have just a few seconds to impress. Select an easy to read, standard font such as Arial, Calibri, Garamond, Helvetica or Georgia.
- Incorrect Tenses
Show your current employer in the present tense and the rest in the past tense. If you have not worked for a while, use the past tenses. Don’t mix up tenses as this causes confusion, and again shows your limited attention to detail.
Leave your reference list for later. You will be asked for references as you advance in the recruitment process. Also avoid writing “References Available on Request” in the resume. It’s a waste of space and dates you by over a decade!
- Hobbies, Interests and Family
A resume is a business document. A career decision maker is not interested in your personal life and what you do outside of work hours, although, work-life balance is encouraged. Eliminate your marital status, number of children, and other personal details.
There are some exceptions. One client had climbed Mt Everest, Mt Kilimanjaro and other high peaks. Another had placed in the Top 100 of the London, New York, Chicago, Miami and other marathons. These accomplishments show the reader many positive traits about the candidate.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself from the start and damage your negotiating position. You don’t need to address the sensitive topic of your current or future salary intentions from point zero. Compensation discussions should commence closer to the final recruitment stages when you do have to be open and clear.
- Reasons for Leaving Past Employers.
Too many people highlight the reasons for leaving their previous employers. You do not need to include reasons, especially if you have been fired. At an interview, you may be asked about the reason for leaving a past employer, but eliminate this unneeded detail out of your resume.
- Failing to List Your Performances, Accomplishments
We are in a performance-driven society where your record of delivering accomplishments is a differentiator and paramount to you being hired. A career decision maker isn’t interested in your responsibilities, apart from the number of direct and indirect staff managed, CapEx and OpEx budgets, and P&L.
Failure to have numerous accomplishments in the resume will count you out!
- Ineffective and Weak Personal Brand
What is your personal brand? Have you defined your personal brand? So many have no clue what their unique promise of value is, their differentiator. If I was in a hiring position, why should I choose you over the competition?
Craft and articulate your personal brand in your resume, LinkedIn profile, e-mail signature and other social media accounts.
One error in either the format or content will decrease your opportunity to be called for an interview. Why mess it up because you are unaware how to write a resume? This is a skill.