Here are some mistakes to avoid in building the perfect resume:
1. Use Keywords: Employment sites like Monster.com and Careerbuilder, all have keyword scanners. With the economy, most employers have been so overwhelmed with resumes they have had to turn to scanning systems to quantify applicants.
If you don’t include these all-important keywords, you probably won’t even earn an interview. Using MS Word, you can easily increase the keyword searchability in your resume by using the “Properties” feature found under File in Word ’03and under the Word Button in Word ’07 then go to Prepare, then Properties. You can also add a link here to any web resumes you have posted online.
2. Make it “pretty”: Have you ever emailed your resume to yourself? You should. Cyber-glitches, email attachments, and different programs used to open those attachments can distort or destroy your perfect looking resume. Pages can break where they aren’t supposed to, lines can be added between sentences, words cut off, and fonts that looked great on your computer can appear very different in an email. The best suggestion is to send your resume to yourself and several friends to ensure that it looks good on multiple computers.
3. Avoid overused “buzz” words: Words that are overused, tired, make your resume appear dated or are just annoying like, “team player,” “trustworthy,” “problem solver.” Hiring managers, human resource consultants, and employment agencies suggest eliminating these words from your resume. In their place, you should show how you used these traits on the job.
4. Proofread!: Spell check does not catch every error, nor will it fix bad grammar. The best option is to have someone else read and proof your resume besides yourself. After spending so many hours reading, editing, and rewriting it, odds are you won’t see the mistakes that could be lurking there.
5. Include a customized Cover Letter: While email speeds your resume to multiple potential employers, many still look for that personal cover letter. Tailoring your cover letter to individual employers increases your chances of have your resume reviewed and gaining an interview. The cover letter should be pasted into the body of the email, not sent as an attachment.
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Christopher Salute is a business professor at Molloy College. He is currently pursuing his PhD and is also a collegiate career counselor.