Bury These Resume Strategies

Posted by Rob Riggins

This Halloween season let’s put these resume strategies in the resume graveyard. Remember that your resume is an ad to get you an interview and ultimately a job, so stay focused on the items that sell you the best. Highlight your achievements and demonstrate how you meet an employer’s needs.

A few things to bury:

Objective Statements

These statements are too much about you vs demonstrating how your skills, talents and abilities meet a prospective employer’s needs. Delete.

Street Addresses

You definitely want to delete your street address and you might even consider leaving city and state off your resume. We hear varying thoughts from recruiters about that. Some do not care, and others do want to see where the job seeker is located. Safest bet is to keep city and state, but delete street address.

Lists of Responsibilities

We do sound like a broken record, but accomplishment statements, or focusing on what you accomplished with the responsibilities you were given, is where it’s at. Yes it can be a challenge at times to develop good accomplishment statements, but they’re much more impactful than simply listing responsibilities. Look at each bullet point on your resume – is it responsibility? If not, ditch it or edit it to be a much more impactful accomplishment statement.

Irrelevant Work Experience

Write your resume for what you want to be or where you want to go. Let’s say you have a varied background with some experience in help desk and in marketing. If you want to work in marketing, when you write your resume only include accomplishment statements from your help desk experience that are relevant to a job in marketing. Example: “Developed compelling end-user materials that reduced email inquiries for assistance by 22% and improved productivity.” That statement demonstrates writing and communications ability that is relevant to a position in marketing.

More Than 10-15 Years of Experience

If the position is asking for that length of experience, then by all means include it. But if the position doesn’t ask for that length of experience, really focus on the past 5-10 years and minimize the space provided to what you did 15 or 20 years ago. It’s just very rarely relevant.

The History of Your Life in Training

Only include training that is relevant to the job you are seeking and go back no more than five or six years — less if technical. It’s really common to see long training lists on cleared professionals who are transitioning out of the military or federal government. But really only the past few years is relevant.

Multiple Methods of Contact

Make it simple for the person who may be contacting you about a job prospect. Only include one phone number and one email address.

Third Person Usage

This is rampant with a certain section of our cleared population. Don’t use proposal resumes that refer to you in the third person. Always use first person. After all it’s your resume.

College GPAs

The first couple years out of college you can include your GPA if you like, but stop thereafter. If you graduated magna or summa cum laude, you may want to include that, but for most recruiters and hiring managers, your GPA just isn’t relevant.

Fancy Fonts, Tables, Colors

Your resume will likely be scanned at some point or uploaded into an applicant tracking system. Fancy fonts, colors, tables, pictures are not your friend. Do not risk the fact that on paper your resume may look pretty, but electronically your information is likely to be a garbled mess.

Recruiters and hiring managers are rushed for time when they review resumes. By deleting information or strategies that aren’t relevant, you can better highlight the information that really helps you get the job.


This entry was posted on Monday, October 31, 2016 5:30 pm

2 thoughts on “Bury These Resume Strategies”

  1. Since you ask for my opinion again, can I query as to intro letters? People re-write my letters to indicate ”how thrilled I was to see your job advertisement for work…” ”I am sure it will be a wonderful!! match of your firm and my abilities to a lovely way to spend the day….” “I have attached so well!! to animals and they have to me…” The last one was for a letter for a receptionist to an animal clinic.

    I put it: “I interest in your announcement…my education and ability will match.” 2nd par’gph: “I have been hired to do. My abilities are….Relations have gone well.” 3rd par’gph: “Notice the resume… give me a call. Sincerely—– ” I am not abrupt, but I will NOT send a letter that sounds like I am describing a pre-school playground.
    I spoke to a job counselor, pointing to the ”sticky” one, “that one’s gooey… is NOT a business letter”. She agreed with me on both counts!! “But THAT is the one they like.” I have found that.
    Why is it Personnel wants to read letters that describe how pleasant will be the drive to work….”the day will be so much FUN!” One suggested letter had TEN ”I” statements! My letter looked like the NYC skyline!!! I am looking for, NEEDING a job!!
    I can not write a letter that sings, “pop goes the weasel.”
    What is your opinion, and is there a middle ground??
    Thank you !!

    1. Sorry to hear you are getting such odd advice on writing a cover letter that we almost believed it was a joke. But cover letter info is vital to all job seekers. Many recruiters and hiring managers have no interest in a cover letter – so often you can omit doing them if you are responding to a job posting. If the posting requests a cover letter, follow its instructions.

      If you want to add a cover letter, be short and relate it to the specific job. 2-3 paragraphs is plenty. Identify the job posting clearly in the first one. Highlight your top 2-3 qualifications, as they relate to the job requirements in the second. No need to recap your whole resume! We have several articles on this blog regarding cover letters, so please check those out as well.

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