A Pro Resume Editor Reveals the 5 Dumbest Things You Have on Your Resume

by Jacob McMillen on 18 July 2014 1 comment

Resumes are your first introduction to a potential employer; they're the key that unlocks a closer inspection. You might be the world's best interviewee, but if you can't land an interview in the first place, those interpersonal skills won't do you much good. (See also: 12 Words You Need to Delete From Your Resume Right Now)

In an effort to identify the dumb mistakes many job hunters make on their resumes, I spoke with Jenny Rae Le Roux, professional resume editor and owner of Management Consulted, an online resource for would-be consultants. After spending several years as a consultant with Bain & Company, Jenny Rae now helps others enter the highly competitive world of management consulting.

Here, in her words, are the top five mistakes Jenny Rae sees in resumes.

1. It's a Novel

We are sure your history is amazing, and you may be an awesome storyteller, but don't ever, ever, ever have more than two pages on your resume. Five sections (summary, professional experience, academic experience, leadership, and personal), four entries per section, and four to five bullet points per entry should cover it. And please don't ever use less than 10.5 point font size and 0.5 inch margins!

Less is really more. You only have 10 seconds to make an impression, so don't bore the reader or scare them away with too much detail. Instead of reading everything, they'll look at your huge document and skip it completely.

2. The Formatting Is a Fiasco

Keep it consistent, people! If you are hoping someone will select you to appropriate their big honking budgets, manage multi-member teams, make major decisions, or perform any basic job at a competent level… you should be able to make one page flawless.

Don't mix fonts, sizes, or styles and PLEASE — do NOT put color on your resume (unless you are 10 years old or younger).

3. Previous Positions Prioritized Poorly

Say that three times fast!

If you scooped ice cream for 10 years, but just completed a three-month non-paid internship with Google, that's what employers want to know the most about. If you can fill up a page with short-term prestigious experiences, leave off the 10-year piece altogether — especially if it makes someone picture you in a setting that isn't compatible with your current aspirations. The last thing you want is to paint a picture of yourself in a role you're attempting to break free from.

4. It Suffers From TMGI

(That's Too Much General Information)

You do not have to explain to the reviewer that you answered phone calls as a secretary. They know that. They also don't want to know about your middle school awards. Focus only on college achievements and beyond, and make sure that you don't just include summaries of each job. Include one clear illustration of something you did over and over with positive results.

5. It's Missing Key Details

"Offered advice to companies," does not pack as much punch as "Oversaw team of four consultants to manage a contract with $5B pharmaceutical company; assisted CEO directly with new market entry strategy."

Provide relevant details and metrics wherever possible. Expect to spend time on your resume on your own, but also consider having an expert review it for you. It's a small one-time cost that will pay itself back tenfold by the time you start your first day at a brand new job.

Have you made any of these resume mistakes? Share in the comments!

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rob

I am not sure. Most of my jobs average stay is 6 to 7 years. In those times I grew immensely but it is in the wrong field. I was in transport not IT, but it is in a team environment and customer service related so am I wrong to put it in. It just irks me when some one calls me with a transport job. Have they not read the career objectives? Even though I worked in transport the career objective should tell them that I have no interest or no ability to work in that industry anymore since my back injury. Don't get me wrong I can still do physical work I just can not sustain at a high level anymore that the transport industry demands.