5 mistakes you may be making on your resume

Resumes are marketing documents -- they need to portray you in the best possible light iStockphoto

Resumes are marketing documents, so you want yours to portray you in the best light possible. Of course you read it, re-read it, ask your friends and former college roommate, the English major, to read it over. You tweak the format until it's just perfect. But you're still probably making some -- if not all -- of these errors.

1. Your resume reads like a job description. True, there are similarities, but there are also distinct differences. If you write, "Responsible for sales in the Northwest Pennsylvania Territory," that tells me nothing about what you accomplished. It tells me what you should have done, but not what you actually did.

2. There are no numbers on your resume. Numbers bridge corporate cultures. If you write, "Increased revenue," that's nice -- that's a good thing. If you write, "Increased revenue by 25 percent over a three-year period," then that tells me a lot more about what you did. How many people did you supervise? How big was the budget you managed? By what percent did you increase efficiency? How many clients did you have?

3. Your formatting only works on your computer. Not everyone uses the same word processing program that you do, meaning your formatting may not translate. Bullet points disappear. Tabs get shifted. Check how your resume appears in Microsoft Word, Open Office, Google Docs and any other common program before you email it. Formatting problems make you look sloppy even if your resume was perfect when you hit send.

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4. It's too long or too short. No, there isn't a secret, perfect length for a resume. But if you're a new college grad with two full pages, you'll look pretentious. And if you're someone with 15 years of experience with everything crammed onto one page, you'll look like you haven't done anything. Scientists and academics need extra pages for their publications. The point is, figure out what is standard for your industry and your time working. The general guideline is one page for new grads, two pages for experienced employees, and extra pages for people with publications.

5. You have an objective statement. I have never -- and I mean this literally -- never seen an "objective statement" help someone get the job. We know what your objective is -- to get a good job with good pay in an environment where you can learn and grow and blah, blah, blah. If you have something unique to say, put it in your cover letter. Take it off your resume. Fire any career coach that tells you to include one.

Have a workplace dilemma?  Send your questions to EvilHRLady@gmail.com.

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