7 Assumptions that Stall Your Job Search Print E-mail

by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

What old assumptions about resumes and job searches are holding you back in your job search? Many job seekers fall into the trap of thinking about resumes in ways that are no longer standard practice. Approaching today’s job search with old-style strategies is not going to drive your resume to the top of the “must-call” list. Take a few minutes to review your resume and update your approach in order to speed up your job search. Are any of the outdated assumptions outlined below slowing you down?

1) Using an objective.

At one time, it was accepted practice to begin your resume with an objective statement. But today, this strategy is a mistake that may signal the hiring manager to immediately set your resume aside. Why is an objective statement such a critical error? Because an objective is all about you! It doesn’t communicate anything about your potential value to the employer. Your emphasis needs to be on describing your value to the hiring manager so clearly that they are compelled to call you immediately!

2) Using a one-size-fits-all resume.

Shifting away from the use of an objective statement goes hand-in-hand with this tip. You must tailor your resume to the industry and ideally to the specific position you are targeting in your job search. Individualizing your application for each position is time-consuming. But targeting your job search by addressing the specific skills required in each position is well worth the investment of time and effort.

3) Being too general in describing your accomplishments.

As noted above, your resume needs to provide specific details about your past accomplishments. Describe achievements in quantifiable terms. When specific results are not available, communicate the value achieved by your actions. For example, you may have “streamlined procedures to increase productivity” or “cut costs by eliminating duplication of efforts.” In addition, creating this level of detail helps prepare you for the interview by giving you “sound bites” and ready responses regarding your value.

4) Maintaining old entries in your resume.

Many job candidates keep old accomplishments in their resume out of sentimental attachment. Maintaining old entries can give the impression that you have not been able to maintain momentum in your career. You don’t want old accomplishments to squeeze out space for recent achievements. Don’t let the personal value in early accomplishments derail your current efforts to get a job.

5) Listing hobbies.

Including hobbies in the resume uses space that could be used to highlight career accomplishments. The hiring manager is not looking for a new golfing buddy or someone with whom to exchange recipes! Save a discussion of hobbies or activities for the interview if that helps you communicate additional strengths or leadership skills.

6) Seeing your resume as a biography.

A resume should not be comprehensive. Hiring managers typically are interested in only the last 10 to 15 years of your work history. Listing all your jobs, hobbies, and professional training is more likely to make sure your resume will not be read. The resume is a calling card. Its job is to get you in the door.

7) Ignoring your online image.

Think you don’t have an online image because you don’t participate in Facebook or Twitter? You might be surprised at what you find online. Regardless of your level of participation in social media, it is in your best interest to review any online postings for appropriateness and accuracy. As far as an online presence is concerned, what you don’t know might hurt you! An online search is a routine part of any employment screening and you need to be prepared by knowing what is out there and polishing up what you can.
If you have posted your resume online, another important part of tending your image is to update those resumes periodically. On some sites, a simple update may move your resume up to the top of recent postings. Hiring managers are going to look at the newest resumes on any site.

Keeping your resume current, not only in terms of online updates, but also work history and current resume practices, is a critical component in any job search. Updating your resume presents many opportunities for you to take control of your job search. A good resume is your best first impression. Take care to create a resume that presents your strengths and demonstrates value to the employer, and you are much more likely to be called for an interview!