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Given that the average time taken by a recruiter or employer to read a resume is just 6 seconds then it makes sense to create a favourable first impression by avoiding the following pitfalls:


 Recruiters and employers don’t want to read about what you think of yourselfe.g. “Exceptional”, “Outstanding “or “Fantastic”. They want to read about your results and achievements at work which can be evidenced. Your pitch should aim to solve their problem not yours.For example, the reader doesn’t particularly care that you “want a rewarding career with an iconic company”. They want to know what you can do for them. Develop more achievements which demonstrate in an objective and relevant way your awesomeness and a shorter list of job responsibilities.

2.Poor Structure

Make it easy for the reader to read and follow your resume. Humans are inherently lazy. If your resume has multiple fonts, unrelated graphics everywhere and very little white space then the reader will find it all too hard and move on to the next resume in the pile.

3.One Size Does Not Fit All

Ensure that you tailor your resume to the role you are applying for. Identify key words from the job ad and address these in your resume and cover letter. For example, if the accounting job you are applying for seeks someone with experience in Class Super software then make sure that you address this in your resume. If you are applying for 10 different jobs, then you should produce 10 slightly different resumes each tailored to meet the specific requirements of the role.

4.Information overload

The reader does not want to read your life story. Make it relevant to the job you are applying for. Not what you did in Year 10 at school (however proud you might be ? ). Be concise. Bullet points work well. If your resume is more than 4-5 pages in length, then start again.

5.Be yourself not what others think you should be.

Oscar Wilde has been credited with saying “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken”.  The reader of your resume needs to connect emotionally with your resume. This is where the six seconds above comes in. You can only do this if you are being authentic. Show the reader your point(s) of difference and the real you.

6.Generic (vanilla) language.

Nearly every resume I have read states that the writer of that resume is a “good team player”. So what!  Better to say that you“worked as part of a team which delivered a new client management system”. Even better to add an achievement which demonstrates the benefits of this new client management system e.g. what cost savings did it deliver? how much increased sales revenue resulted from the new system? Etc. Similar argument against other vanilla statements such as “good attention to detail” and “strong work ethic

7.Not Walking the Talk.

Speaking of claiming that you have good attention to detail, what impression do you make with the reader if your resume has multiple spelling and/or grammatical errors? Triple check your spelling and grammar. Do not rely on an automated spell checker. Ask a close friend or colleague to review your resume for clarity and accuracy.

8.Don’t falsify education.

Recruiters and employers will check. If you have exaggerated this part of your resume, then what else have you misconstrued? Since 2013, the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct has contained clauses empowering departments to sack bureaucrats found to have lied their way into jobs.

9.Don’t ignore career gaps.

It’s best to explain briefly why you were out of the workforce lest the reader assume something negative.I would be quite OK in you letting me know that you left your previous job due to an organisational restructure (i.e. your role was made redundant) and that it took you 4 months to find another suitable role. Being up front is sound policy.

10.Don’t forget your contact details

It’s amazing how many people forget to include either a contact email address or phone number in their resume. This makes it pretty difficult to get back to you.




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