Here are four more. While not as common, these are equally important:
1. Your resume is written in the third person, as in “Mr. Brown is a seasoned professional…” I find this pretentious and off-putting (I think others would agree). Please don’t be this person.
2. You own(ed) a business and you’ve given yourself the title of “CEO”. I think entrepreneurialism is valuable ~ it teaches all kinds of skills. But… when a recruiter sees “CEO” or “Founder”, especially if the business also bears your name, there will be reasonable doubt about your ability to become an employee. If you can, change the business name to one other than your own, and give yourself a less-senior title, like “Senior Consultant “ or “Operations Manager”.
3. There is no apparent experience overlap. Crazy as it sounds, people do apply to jobs HOPING they’ll be considered, even though their experience isn’t an obvious fit. Without a strong link to someone inside the company who can be your advocate and bridge that experience gap, your resume is going to land on the ‘no’ pile. Another possible solution: review the job description, picking out key experience requirements, and carefully tailoring your resume to show why yours is relevant for this role.
4. You haven’t provided context, as in the reader isn’t familiar with your employer(s) and your resume gives little detail about what you accomplished. I love resumes that help me peer into someone’s experience this way: there’s a bit of information about the company (like annual $ revenue, at the very least, along with industry). Here’s an example: “MoneyGram International Inc. is a $249M money transfer company”). You can add that in smaller, italicized font right under the company name. Then, within your various jobs, add details like # of people managed, $ budgets, # of locations. Another thing I love to see is an ‘Impacts/Accomplishments’ section with specific, measurable accomplishments for each role (like “reduced server recovery time by X hours”, or “opened 14 new locations” for example).
Bonus tip: the smartest people I know keep a ‘praise’ folder with their job accomplishments and accolades: things like great customer reviews or praise from the executive committee for a well-run project. Not only is the folder a great place to visit when updating your resume, but it’s also a cheering place when you’re feeling discouraged.
Good communication starts when we put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. Do your best to be clear. Don’t assume your reader is familiar with acronyms, or that they know anything about your company. Don’t make them wonder what your accomplishments mean in terms of impact. Pretend you’re someone who doesn’t know anything about you or your work: read the resume from their point of view. Ask a friend to do the same.
At the same time (and this is the balancing act that most of us struggle with) remember that you don’t need to include every tiny detail on your resume. Think of the resume as a tasty appetizer, not the meal. Use your 2-3 pages wisely, adding meaningful (to the reader) context. By doing this, you’ll create a resume that does a better job of opening doors.
In the end, your resume is one of many job search tools. But it’s an important one. Give it the time and scrutiny it deserves.
If you’re still struggling and would like 1:1 resume advice, let a recruiter revise your resume (it’s like having the IRS prepare your taxes).