10 Boneheaded Resume Mistakes That Guarantee You Won't Get the Job

The following is an article published by Inc. on October 20, 2015. To view the original article, please click here

by Bill Murphy Jr. 

incGoogle is one of the most sought-after employers in the United States. The company received three million resumes during the year that Scott Bacon worked there as a recruiter (between September 2013 and 2014), according to Fast Company.

badresumes"Google applicants run the gamut, from very professional to people who couldn't string together a full sentence," says Bacon, who was "responsible for recruiting people to work as software and network engineers, but also in marketing and other areas."

With that many resumes, HR folks are looking for just about any reason to say no. Here are 10 easy excuses you give them simply to toss your application in the trash.

1. Bad formatting.

It might seem ridiculous to turn down a candidate because his or her resume is formatted poorly--especially when visual design has nothing to do with the job they're seeking. Yet that's exactly what happens.

"Formatting is more important that you know. Since they are only glancing at your resume for six seconds, it's crucial to have your work history displayed in a way that will keep the attention of the recruiter," Fast Company's Lydia Dishma wrote.

2. Including an objective.

Bacon called resume objectives "old school and ... generally pretty generic." Often, they're just a waste of space--talking about what you want rather than what you can do for the employer. Since they're an older convention, they can make you look out of touch.

3. Focusing too much on just one job.

Sometimes this makes sense, but at a big company like Google, with hundreds or even thousands of openings, making your pitch exclusively for one job means you're less likely to be considered for other roles in which the company might think you're a better fit.

4. Being irrelevant.

Don't list every position you've ever had, Bacon recommends, and never include entry-level jobs or anything more than 10 years old. If you absolutely insist on including decade-old experience, just include the "company, job title, and date"--no further details.

"Focus only on the positions that are relevant to the one for which you are applying," Bacon said. (This means the words "cashier" and "barista" should never appear.)

5.  Reusing a resume for multiple positions.

It's easy to use the same resume when applying for multiple jobs. It's also easy never to get hired. Instead, you need to tailor each resume you send out to a specific position, Bacon said.

The only exception here might be a new graduate applying for entry-level jobs. Employers understand that you don't have any real experience and they know what campus recruiting is like, so they're more willing to overlook the cookie-cutter nature of your resume.

6. Rattling off your former responsibilities.

This is one of the most common resume mistakes. People list the things they were "responsible for" at their old jobs, but don't explain what's more important--what they actually accomplished. You may as well take the afternoon off and go to the movies rather than apply in this case.

"A good rule of thumb," Bacon explained, is to "use one line for responsibilities, two lines for accomplishments."

7. Saying that references are "available upon request."

Would you refuse to provide references if asked? Of course not. Moreover, decision-makers often will conduct a thorough background check--talking with the references you provide, but also reaching out to other people you've worked with, but didn't list.

8. "Proficient in Microsoft Office."

The year is 2015; people assume you can use word processing software, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint. In fact, focusing on MS Office rather than more recently developed tools can make you look old and disconnected.

9. Including buzzwords.

"The two words that almost cause me to disregard a resume are synergy anddynamic," Bacon says. They just make you sound like corporate drone. (The only exception in which it's OK to use jargon and buzzwords is when you have to match words used in the job description to show you meet the qualifications.)

10. Not making a sufficient effort to be friendly.

Recruiters are people too, and it's shocking how many applicants don't seem to understand the power they wield.

"One of the best things you can do in this stage of a job search is to make friends with the recruiter," Fast Company's Dishman writes. "Hiring goals need to be met ... so when recruiters receive a message from a candidate asking how best to increase their chances of making it through the application process, they are going to take the time to help."


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