Career Survival Skills: Improve Your Resume, Pt.2
by Michael Mayher

As a follow-up from last week’s post, in order to present yourself in the best possible manner without distractions that add little or no value, here is the second-half of the list of Items to either adjust, or to leave off your resume:

Listing employment dates, years without listing months
The first reaction of most recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers is that listing years without months in your chronological employment history is an attempt to hide gaps in your employment. Always list the month and the year of both when you started and when you finished your employment at each job.

Unexplained gaps in employment history
If you have them, explain them briefly. Hiding them or pretending they don’t exist is not helpful and you’re going to have to address them anyway. Many people have employment gaps. Granted, you might not want to put in your resume that you were fired, but layoffs and other circumstances beyond your control are understandable and will not automatically impact you negatively.

TMI (too much information)
A resume is not a document for conveying your life’s history in long form. Always seek to say the most with the least words. Your resume is an overview and not a professional autobiography. Save something for the interview.

Length too short, too long
The length of your resume is up to your own discretion. True, a resume should be impactful but brief. On the other hand, if you have a history and accomplishments of which you are proud, don’t worry if your resume is two and-a-quarter, or two and-a-half pages. Be discriminating and list the best of the information about you and, as I said above, save something for the interview.

Tables and graphs
Tables and graphs do not belong in a resume. They can be included as a separate and accompanying attachment. You can also add them to your Brag Book, which I discuss in another section of this handbook.

Avoid use of company / organizational logos on your resume. It is clutter and does not belong in a resume.

Hobbies and interests

This is another waste of space. Your personal hobbies and interests may be an item for conversation, but leave that for later, after they have determined you are qualified. These items might demonstrate the kind of person you are but have little relevance to your qualifications or abilities and, therefore, why add them? They are however useful when it comes time to determine company culture and co-worker compatibility fit, but that is established later during the interview process.

Slogans or quotes
Some people think it is clever to add a slogan or a quote that reflects their attitude or persona. It isn’t, and they don’t belong in your resume.

Spelling and grammatical errors
These are the most common resume mistakes people make. A small typo here and there may not seem like much. However, consider that when a company gets many resumes from which to choose, they look for reasons to reduce the numbers considered. Do you want spelling errors and typos to be the reason you aren’t seriously considered?

Never lie
Untruths you document, in writing, is a dumb thing to do and never a good idea.

About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.)

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