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Three Characteristics of Highly Ineffective Resumes

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Freelance Writer on July 5th, 2012

For some people, it may be difficult to articulate what constitutes a “good” resume. However, many people can easily point out what constitutes a “bad” resume. Rather than call a resume “bad,” I prefer to call these types of resumes ‘highly ineffective.’

The resume is too short. If a resume doesn’t even reach one page in length, I typically question the candidate’s validity for the position. Even if you have only had one job, there should be enough to constitute one page of documentation. Don’t forget to include your educational history, core competencies, and a descriptive statement. Also, consider the multitude of tasks you completed at your job. Typically, we do more at our jobs than we give ourselves credit for – take credit for these on your resume.

There are different fonts, bolding, and underlining throughout the document. Consistency is critical when designing your resume and cover letter. If you bold your job titles, then do it for all of your job titles. Don’t use a size 14 font for one section heading and a size 12 for the next heading. Consistency shows your attention to detail and your ability to make an eye-catching document. Bolding and underlining can be used; however, don’t overuse them. If they are overused, then you may appear to be a novice technology user.

There are spelling and grammar mistakes. If you are unable to spell past employer names or core competencies you claim to have, then how can the employer trust you to do their work? These types of mistakes make you appear uneducated and that you don’t care about the presentation of your information. This can be a make-it or break-it moment when your resume is reviewed. If the hiring manager has 50 resumes and yours has even one spelling mistake, it may be immediately moved to the “no” pile.

Take time to craft your resume to ensure it shows you at your very best. Make sure your document shows all of your skills, be consistent with formatting, and proofread your materials for any spelling and grammatical errors. After all, no one else is going to ensure your information shines; that task is fully yours.

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