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Keep Your Resume Clutter Free

I’ve literally reviewed tens of thousands of resumes during my illustrious HR career. I’ve seen some beautifully written ones and others that would make a first grade teacher cringe. Resume writing is an art form, so you really need to put some thought into the content of your resume, keeping in mind that you will be lucky if the individual reviewing your resume spends more than 20 seconds looking it over. Here are just a few quick samples of items that should not be found on your resume:

Your Picture As good as you may think you look in the picture, nobody wants to see it. In fact, I’ve spoken with a number of HR professionals that won’t even consider forwarding a resume to the hiring manager, due to a fear that the manager may make decisions based on the picture. Don’t expect the Recruiter to take the time to fix up your resume before passing it on…it’s not going to happen. If you insist on keeping your picture on the resume, please don’t include a picture that looks like a prison mugshot. I’ve seen a number of resume pictures that had me thinking “This is how you choose to present yourself?”

Company Logos I’m interested in who you have worked for…I don’t care what their logo looks like. Adding company logos makes your resume look busy and keeps Recruiters from focusing on the relevant content. Also, by adding the logos, you’re more-than-likely increasing the file size of your resume. No Recruiter wants to wait 30 seconds for your resume to finally open up.

Your Hobbies I’m very happy that you like to fish, golf, hike, bird watch and collect stamps. Unfortunately, none of these hobbies has anything to do with the job you’re applying for. Leave them off, they’re not helping your cause.

Age, Family Information and Health Status All items that make HR professionals cringe. I’ve seen it more than you may think.

References Available Upon Request That’s a given. We’re going to ask if we want them, we don’t need your permission.

These are just a few items of the many that could derail your goal of finding that new job. The focus of your resume should always be your accomplishments. Recruiters and hiring managers want to find out what you’ve done, how you did it and how it helped the company you work(ed) for. Time is not on your side, so make it stand out.

Let me leave you with a few tips:

Each of your accomplishment statements/bullets should begin with a verb. Avoid using words like assisted and participated; be sure to use words like implemented and lead.

Absolutely check, double check and check again for grammatical errors. Having a second set of eyes peruse your resume is always a good idea.

Don’t put anything on your resume that you can’t back up during the interview.

I hope you find this information to be helpful. Look for some additional resume writing and job searching tips in my upcoming blogs. Feel free to send me an e-mail, if there are any other HR related topics you would like me to address.

Matthew Sims is a Human Resources Manager in the automotive industry. Matthew has extensive experience in: Recruiting, Training & Development, Compliance, Environmental, Health & Safety, Performance Management, Individual Development Planning, Employee Relations, Succession Planning, Management Development, Project Management, Applicant Tracking Systems, Electronic Onboarding Solutions and Social Media.

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