If you’re getting little or no response with your resume, then you’re probably right, it does stink. And just when you got used to what an executive resume was supposed to look like, everything changed. Even a well-written standard resume doesn’t cut it anymore. Along with following accepted guidelines, your resume has to incorporate the latest strategies to work for you.
Here are the most common mistakes and oversights I see in the executive resumes sent to me. Some of these are perennial issues I’ve been seeing for 20 years. Some are reflective of what’s lacking to measure up to today’s executive resume.
1. No clear job target. A generic resume won’t land you anywhere. Know where you’re headed so you can focus the entire resume in one direction. Make it very clear that you’re the right person, in every respect, for the job you’re targeting.
2. No personal branding. Differentiate yourself, generate chemistry out of the gate, and entice readers by illuminating your vitality and pivotal leadership strengths. Breathe life into an otherwise flat document and come alive on the page.
3. No value proposition. Link branding with monetized indications of your promise of value to your next employer.
4. No “success stories”. Provide proof of the value you will bring by giving examples of challenges you’ve overcome in the past and exactly how you did it.
5. A designated “Objective” statement. No one cares what you want. Replace “what I want is …” with “the value I offer is …”, by leading your resume with powerful branded statements of the value you will bring to your next employer.
6. Too much information packed too tightly. Many hiring decision makers are reviewing resumes on BlackBerries. Pepper your resume with short on-brand, value-driven statements surrounded by enough white space to make each stand out. Make it easy to read and get to the meat quickly.
7. Too many pages. Keep it to 2 pages. Your resume is not about detailing your entire career history. It is a marketing document designed to generate interest in you. Pare down to include only essential personal marketing information.
8. Typos, grammatical errors, and/or poor formatting. This should go without saying. Errors are the kiss of death. Keep the formatting attractive and consistent. And make sure your contact information is correct.
9. One-size-fits-all resume template and/or standard resume-speak. You’re not like everyone else. Your resume should reflect and embrace what makes you unique. Don’t fall back on cliches.
10. Passive verbs and repetitive, boring job descriptions that waste precious space. Keep it interesting. Draw in readers and hold their attention with robust action verbs that indicate your vitality. No need to reiterate obvious responsibilities. Load the “Professional Experience” section with powerful and relevant key words, instead of tired, overused phrases like “responsible for”.
There are many other resume blunders, but this pretty well covers the critical ones. Get the lowdown on powering up your executive resume to position yourself above the crowd.