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Is Your DIY Resume Holding Your Job Search Back?

So, you’ve been looking for a new job, and you’re not having any luck. Maybe it’s time to stop searching and look at your resume.

Lack of a summary section.

The summary section is the first section of a resume and should be concise and tailored to the job target. The summary section should also reflect what makes you stand out from the competition while being professional and clear so that it stands out from other resumes. This is considered a sales pitch section.

DIY resume writing is not the same as professional resume writing.

You might be tempted to just throw something together and hope for the best. But if you want to get hired, your resume needs to stand out. It’s not enough to have a good resume; you need a great one. And that can only be achieved when you hire a professional resume writer who knows what they’re doing.

Writing resumes is not as simple as learning how to use Word or Google Docs—it’s an art form in its own right, just like painting or sculpting or music performance. That’s why professional resume writers are trained in their field; they’ve studied writing resumes from scratch and know how to tailor them specifically for their audience (employers). They understand what goes into making a good impression on employers so that they can write about your experience and qualifications in ways that will resonate with them.

Errors on the resume.

  • Professional language. When you’re writing your resume, make sure your language is professional and polished.
  • Proper grammar and spelling. Employers want to see that you know how to write properly, so check over every word in your resume at least twice before submitting it for consideration—and make sure there aren’t any typos! If this sounds tedious to you, try using Grammarly’s free online proofreading tool instead; it will catch spelling errors in real time as you type out your document.
  • Correct punctuation: Use periods at the ends of sentences rather than dashes or ellipses; don’t use exclamation points; don’t put quotation marks around titles or job descriptions unless; avoid unnecessary capitalization on nouns.

Not enough action verbs.

One way to make your resume more engaging is by using action verbs. Action verbs should be specific and relevant to the job you are applying for. Using action verbs like “managed,” “organized,” or “improved” can make it easier  for a potential employer to visualize how your skills will translate into their company’s needs. Instead of using these phrases, try putting yourself in their shoes: think about what challenges their specific industry faces and use those challenges as your motivation for creating impactful solutions or products for them.

For example, if you were applying for a position in marketing, instead of saying that you “organized” a team of volunteers, explain how this helped improve customer service at your organization’s annual festival by providing an additional layer of support during peak hours.

You’re forgetting to quantify your experience.

There are so many ways to quantify your experience to show your accomplishments. Some example questions include:

  • Have you increased sales by 20 percent in the past year?
  • Did you help the company save $500,000 last year?
  • Did you grow the email list from 500 to 1,000 in 3 months?

The accomplishment should be written in the Star format on the resume (i.e. situation, action, result).

You have no keywords on your resume.

It’s essential that your resume contain keywords, because they are what employers look for when filtering through resumes. Keyword research can be found in job descriptions, job postings and company websites. Search engines will scan these documents and match the words with each other. Then they show potential candidates’ information based on their own search results. If your resume doesn’t have these words on it, you’ll lose out on opportunities to impress recruiters because your application won’t even get uploaded at all.

Your resume is not visually appealing.

A simple but effective way to improve the visual appeal of your resume is to use a professional resume template. There are a lot of free and paid templates out there, but make sure you choose one that works for you.

  • Is it easy to read? Are there too many colors or fonts?
  • Can it be printed easily? Does it look good when printed on both white and colored paper?
  • Can you edit the contents without having any issues with formatting or layout?
  • Will the formatting stay intact if you change something in Word and then save as .docx instead of .doc?

One size fits all resume.

One size fits all resumes are not effective. When applying for jobs, you need to be specific to your job search and tailor your resume accordingly. This means that if you are applying for a sales position at a clothing store, your resume should be tailored toward the job description and focus on selling experience or even some sales classes taken at school or in previous jobs. It also means that if an opening appears at another clothing store down the street, you will need to tailor your resume again because it won’t match the job description anymore (and likely many more companies will pop up).

Multiple layouts throughout.

The first impression of your resume is important, and the layout sets the tone for what your potential employer will see when they view it. For example, if you combine multiple layouts throughout the page with different font sizes and styles, it looks unprofessional. It makes it look like you’re not sure what you want to say or how to say it. This can make a potential employer think that you don’t know how to write a resume.

Includes photos or unprofessional graphics.

  • Do not include photos, especially if you’re applying for a job in an office setting. Employers see this as unprofessional and distracting, so it’s best to leave them out entirely. If you must have a photo, make sure it is professional—for example, one where you are dressed professionally and smiling at the camera (not sticking your tongue out).
  • Graphic design templates are also distracting on resumes and should be avoided if possible. When choosing a template or design elements for your resume (e.g., font sizes), try to stick with those that match those used by companies included on your list of job prospects.

Resumes and cover letters are tricky. In fact, they can be downright confusing for people who aren’t used to writing professionally. And if you’re not sure what to say or how to say it, it will show in your resume and cover letter—and that can hurt your chances of getting hired.

The good news is that all of these mistakes can be easily fixed by a professional resume writer. Remember, when it comes to cover letters and resumes, hiring professionals will save you time and money in the long run because they know what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to job search materials

If you would like more help with your resume, check out our Resume Writing Package, Resume Bundles, or contact us today for a customized quote. 

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