By Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer
Experts say despite all the information out there on how to write a good resume, many still show up on recruiters and hiring managers desks with easy-to-prevent weaknesses. If you want to improve your chances of landing an interview next time you send out your resume, consider these five common resume weaknesses and correct them.
Including Low-Level Skills
Don’t pad your resume with expected skills; it just looks desperate.
“Applicants continue to include proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint on their resumes,” says Maisie Devine, co-founder and CEO of job-search app Poacht
. “In today's world, those skills are a given. Instead, include experience with technical tools and languages including Salesforce, Google Analytics, SQL, Git, Responsys, Python and so on. Knowledge or skill in these areas are much more compelling to employers and, often times, part of the job description.”
Including an Objective
An objective statement at the top of your resume doesn’t add anything; it just makes your resume -- and you -- look dated.
“If your resume has an objective statement, it's likely older than a cassette Walkman,” says Brenda Collard-Mills, a certified resume strategist and owner of Robust Resumes and Resources
. “Resume trends have changed since the objective statement was king -- now a resume is all about marketing yourself.”
Instead of an objective statement, Collard-Mills recommends taking a marketing approach that describes the type of role you’re seeking. Under your contact information, she says, list something like “‘Senior Sales & Marketing Leader,’ then give yourself a tagline: ‘4x President's Club Winner -- Excels at delivering powerful sales presentations’.”
Not Using Keywords
If you’re submitting your resume to an organization that uses applicant tracking software, it won’t get a good read if you don’t use the keywords for the position. “The application is keyword based and scans each resume submitted online or via email searching for those keywords,” Collard-Mills says. “You could be the perfect candidate but if you didn't match your resume with the keywords the company and job require, your resume has landed in the recycle bin.”
Keywords are usually hard skills learned through experience and education -- and they’re often mentioned in the job posting, Collard-Mills explains. “Industry-related associations are also useful resources to research keywords. For example, sample keywords for a Sales role include: account management, Channel Sales, Contract Negotiation, Customer Service, Margin Improvement, Post Sales Support, Profit Margin, Sales Forecasting, Sales Presentations, or Territory Management.”
Not Using Metrics
It’s not enough to describe your skills. You also need to describe what you’ve done with them.
Applicants “may say they manage a team or have P&L responsibility but never say how much,” says E. Elizabeth Carter, president of Carter Consultants
. “It is critical for the hiring company to know these numbers as they vet candidates.”
Leaving it Totally Impersonal
You need to remember that your resume is a marketing tool. “The greatest resume weakness recruiters like me see from applicants are resumes that read like job descriptions,” says resume expert Scott Vedder
. If what’s written in your resume could apply to anyone, your resume reads too much like a job description.
“Don’t just describe the most basic things you do on the job every day. Be specific,” Vedder says. “Explain and quantify exactly what you’ve accomplished and why your achievements make you the best candidate for the job.”