Career Directors International Shares 4 Major Mistakes to Avoid in Resume Writing for 14th Annual Update Your Resume Month

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There is no better time to think about updating your resume than each September during International Update Your Resume Month. Event founders Career Directors International (CDI) help job seekers avoid common resume pitfalls with four major mistakes to avoid in writing their resumes.

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It’s far too easy to wait to update the resume. But, then when it is needed, the resume is not ready and the content is no longer readily recalled. Instead, plan to spend time at least once a year on an update while the knowledge is fresh.

“Even if an individual is not in the market for a new job, it is important to make time each year to update the resume,” states Career Directors International (CDI) President, Laura DeCarlo. When CDI registered Update Your Resume Month in September 14 years ago, it was because of the need to put this important piece of career-care-taking at the forefront of employed persons’ minds.

DeCarlo adds, “It’s far too easy to wait to update the resume. But, then when it is needed, the individual is left scrambling to remember all the accomplishments, accolades, and training that need to be added. Instead, plan to spend time at least once a year on an update while the knowledge is fresh.” To that end, CDI shares these four major mistakes that should be avoided when writing or updating the resume.

Mistake #1: Writing the resume solely for the decision maker

Never assume the resume is going to go directly into the hands of the person who understands the experience. Most commonly, the resume starts in the hands of a screener, like an HR clerk, or is scanned by a computerized system.

Therefore, a resume must speak thoughtfully to all potential parties with:

  • Scannable content;
  • Keyword section;
  • Strong summary that emphasizes unique, bottom line value;
  • Clean, readable format.

Mistake #2: Believing someone is going to read every word

This is a costly mistake thinking that the reviewer will ‘find’ what is important because he/she will read every word and every line. Resumes get skimmed at best until the resume makes it through screening to a small stack of promising candidates.

To get through that screening the layout and content must make it easy for the reviewer to find what they need with:

  • Minimal use of short paragraphs;
  • Spacing between short bullets;
  • Sectioning of content within jobs by function;
  • Effective white space and readable font size.

Mistake #3: Telling responsibilities instead of selling challenges and accomplishments

If ten individuals are qualified for a job, then it is pretty much a guarantee that all ten have had similar responsibilities. Responsibilities alone are not what is going to make a resume stand out.

Responsibilities are what is going to get the resume pitched against candidates who sell themselves.

To sell, a resume must tell a CAR story with the content. CAR is challenge, action, and result. To accomplish this create:

  • Overview job description paragraphs that emphasize position goals and any overall challenges in a short paragraph;
  • Bullets that support the position by telling stories about relevant challenges faced, actions taken, and quantifiable results achieved.

Mistake #4: Not correcting all the errors

Typographical errors and content inconsistencies might seem insignificant, but they can leave a great candidate out of consideration for a job.

While an engineer might not use spelling much on the job, the fact that a resume is submitted with such little lack of attention to detail will reflect on what is assumed is the individual’s attention to detail on all fronts.

So, once a great resume is prepared, don’t leave it to chance. Instead have:

  • 2-3 sets of extra eyes review the resume carefully;
  • Professional proofreading, which can be very cost-effective;
  • Reverse reading from the last word to the first to identify an error that might otherwise be missed.

At the end of the day, a resume is a personal marketing document that should sell the individual. When kept up to date, it will be ready at an instant for any fantastic opportunities (or unexpected emergencies) that emerge. Don’t leave a career to chance – this September, let’s update those resumes!

Job seekers can learn more about Update Your Resume Month and can find a career professional to help at CDI’s website.

About CDI: Career Directors International –
CDI is a global membership organization that is committed to ensuring that career and resume professionals can grow and thrive in a rich, vibrant, exciting, and nurturing environment. CDI is focused on championing the industry’s cause for credibility and visibility; fostering exceptional success in every generation of career and resume professionals; and cultivating the career superhero that exists within each one of us.

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Laura DeCarlo
since: 05/2008
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