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EP 1465. Here are a few of the dumb things that people do with their resumes where people hurt themselves.  All the corrections are easily avoidable 

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Today, I have some of those stupid resume mistakes that way too many people make that I want to intercept you about.

Don't write this enormous 10 page or 5 page resume. No one is going to read it. No one cares about what you did in The Stone Ages. Get concise. Think about what the hiring manager is looking for; focusing on that.

2. There are instructions about how to submit your resume. If they want a PDF, send them a PDF. If they want a Word file, send them one.It's really that simple. Make sure your resume demonstrates a fit for the requirements. So often, the standard generic resume that you are going to be submitting does a poor job of doing that. Laser in. Focus in on what they are looking for. Make sure your resume actually demonstrates the fit. Do this, ideally, within the 1st half to three quarters of the 1st page of the resume.

3. . You have an email address that shows you are a mass murderer. I'm looking to give examples; I'm just going to say that some people's email addresses are insane! Don't have a stupid email address.

4. Another thing people do is write that "References are available upon request." Everyone knows that you are filling space when you put that in the resume and that you are trying to Balance it out. It is better to put 3 lines of information instead of using that stupid statement.

5. The opposite problem is that you actually put references on your resume! Way too often, unfortunately, what you are doing, Especially if you're sending it to a third party recruiter, You are giving them people that they going to try to call and recruit Or trying to get referrals to fill their position. Yes, you may be a potential candidate, but they are trying to fill the job and will feel better if They have 4 candidates to submit. 1 of them may or may not be you and you are giving them leads a people who they might be able to contact.

6. You decided to design your resume in order to make it look HOT! If you are not a designer, you don't really know what you are doing. Don't put a resume in that has different fonts and designs, titles and colors. Stick to a pretty traditional approach with great information in the 1st half to three quarters of the 1st page of your resume. When you're doing design and don't know what you're doing, most of you think you have an artistic quality about you, but you don't. The result is that you look like you are sending a ransom note people. Don't do that. Conversely, I am not a big fan of templates. I know most readers aren't either.There are a lot of things that get embedded in templates, particularly in Word that make a resume look ordinary.Templates are also difficult to parse if the company is in putting it into their applicant tracking system. Resume templates are not ideal because most of them use frames that they could make it difficult to parse and annoying to input into their systems.

7. In addition, if you're not using a template (which I don't want you to do), don't use embedded headers in the resume.

That could include your name, address and phone number or page 2 of 2. Things along those lines. There are a few reasons why. Sometimes, the systems have trouble reading it and when they parse resumes into their ATS, sometimes, the systems have parsing what is in the embedded headers. They are not going to go back manually to rekey it. In other words, you are causing a problem for them for government reporting and for a few other things. If they can't get your resume into their system, they have no way of finding you at a later date if another position opens up. You want to make that part of it easy.

In addition, sometimes when you use embedded headers, things don't line up properly. Suddenly you have page 2 of 2 on the bottom of page 1 because different versions of word lineup differently.
Also, that page 2 of 2 or page 2 of 3, that was a necessity when you are sending paper documents. These days, you are sending everything through email and thus the need to tell them what page it is or that you have a three-page resume isn't necessary anymore. Get rid of that and don't do that silly thing about what page they are on.

The next thing is that sometimes (and this is mostly true for less experienced workers), you feel compelled to list every job that you had and you taken something temporarily at the drycleaner in your neighborhood or at Starbucks and drew his attention away from the last relevant job that you had which is really what they care about. No one cares that during the last 4 months you been working at the drycleaner if you're trying to fill in IT, position or engineering job or something like that. Better than not have it there. Better to have a simple line that says or*next to the date of your most recent relevant work that draws them to words that say, "during the time I've not been working in IT, I've been working a non-IT related function.” Don't list your position at the drycleaner or at the Starbucks.

8. Too much information, particularly personal information. Why would someone put into their resume (I saw this last week) that they are single, married or divorced. I'm going to expand this to include gender, age, race… What have you. Personal statistics like this are difficult for an employer to handle because it puts them at risk for discrimination accusations. Don't put picture on your resume although I know that in some parts of the world that is ideal because you want to show yourself to be a professional looking individual, on a US centric resume, don't have a picture. Don't have intensely personal information there.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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2 Responses
  1. Michael S.

    Nice video, how would you approach someone with tons of different job experiences averaging between 4months to a year each with gaps in employment? Can a person like that even do anything to compete?

    1. Jeff Altman

      If the person has been a contract consultant or temp, all the area and roles are aggregated under a category of Consultant with all the dates combined flush right. If they were an employee, the same principle apples with the category being Engineer or Tax Accountant or Developer. If that wasn’t the question you were asking try again

Leave a Reply to Michael S. Cancel reply