Hiring trends may come and go, and while managers may love social media reviews and group interviews right now, these preferences may become a thing of the past within just a few years. But there’s one aspect of the application process that seems to stay consistent year after year and generation after generation: the resume. No matter how resumes reach the hands of hiring managers (via electronic submissions, digital apps, or old fashioned paper copies sent by mail), these simple documents still provide a wealth of valuable information that managers request—and require—in almost every industry.
And while the things they love about resumes tend to stay the same (neatness, clarity and proper formatting), the things they dislike tend to stay the same as well. Throughout the years, we’ve listened to managers describe the pet peeves on the list below, and no matter how the hiring process changes, these turn-offs always seem to top the list.
Managers don’t like resumes that seem tossed-off and unedited. If your resume looks and feels like a document that was written and sent within twenty minutes, it won’t make a very strong impression. The answer: Don’t send a resume written and edited within twenty minutes. Spend some time with your application, visit the company website, tailor your claims to the needs of the position, and get serious editing help before you click send.
A wooden tone is a problem, and a sense of entitlement will also be a problem for most hiring managers. But when these two issues happen at the same time, eyes roll and resumes land in the trash. Watch out for sentences like these: “I am an excellent accounts manager. I have considerable experience. I will accept a salary of 50,000 per year. I will not work with outdated accounts management software systems.”
Any hint of bitterness, anger, or hostility will severely undermine the credibility of your resume, no matter how skilled or experienced you may be. Keep your tone warm, relaxed and friendly, and if you have to say something negative in order to make your point, skip that point and save it for the interview. If you left your last job because you didn’t get along with your boss, don’t try to explain that situation or tell your side of the story in your resume summary or cover letter.
Don’t throw smoke. Stating a claim in way that can lead to two possible interpretations may seem very clever in the moment, but it isn’t. And if you make this move, there’s a strong chance that your readers will skip Interpretation A and Interpretation B and move directly to Interpretation C: You’re an unclear communicator and a potentially unreliable employee.
It’s okay to skip a few details from your professional past in order to shine a spotlight on the details that carry the most weight. Learn to summarize and don’t worry about missing a few points in the interest of keep your message smooth and succinct.
If you’re not sure you’re making the right impression with your resume, get some help. LiveCareer’s professional resume builder can give you the edge you need to step ahead of your competition.