The average company receives at least 75 resumes for an advertised job opening.
However, large companies routinely receive hundreds of resumes. During its prime, Yahoo received 12,000 resumes weekly, according to the company’s president, Marissa Mayer.
And former recruiter Scott Bacon told Fast Company that Google receives three million resumes a year.
Regardless of the organization’s size or level of popularity, you’re going to compete with other candidates. Your resume serves as your first impression, and if it’s not a good one, it will be your first and last impression.
According to Purdue University, your resume should include four basic sections:
- Contact information
That seems pretty simple, but the content of your resume determines if you’ll make it to the first round of interviews. And some resume items have the power to disqualify you, even if you’re the most qualified candidate.
These are five things to cut from your resume to increase your chances of making a good first impression:
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To err is human, but potential employers don’t want to hear how human you are especially when other candidates are presenting themselves as superheroes. Check your spelling carefully to avoid typographical and syntax errors.
CareerBuilder and Resume.com reveal some of the most humorous mistakes they’ve seen:
- Applicant wrote “whorehouse” instead of “warehouse” when listing work history
- Applicant wrote “skelze” section instead of “skills”
- Applicant wrote “Demonstrated ability in multi-tasting” instead of “multi-tasking”
- Applicant wrote “strong work ethic, attention to detail, team player, attention to detail”
- Applicant wrote “I am a perfectionist and rarely if if (written twice) ever forget details”
- Applicant wrote “Instrumental in 'ruining' instead of 'running' an entire operation for a Midwest chain store”
I suppose people who lie on resumes do so because they don’t believe that they’ll get caught. However, most companies understand the importance of background research. In fact, CareerBuilder states that 69 percent of employers have changed their mind regarding a candidate after checking references. CareerBuilder reveals some of the most incredible lies that applicants have been caught telling:
- Applicant listed as a reference an employer from whom they had embezzled money and had an arrest warrant out for the applicant
- Applicant claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner
- Applicant claimed to be a former CEO of the company to which they were applying
- Applicant claimed to have worked in a jail when they were really in there serving time
- Applicant who claimed to be HVAC certified later asked the hiring manager what “HVAC” meant
- Applicant claimed to have attended a college that didn’t exist
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3: TMI (Too Much Information)
Ideally, candidates are judged on their qualifications. However, hiring managers are human, and like all of us, they may have unconscious preferences and biases. If it turns out that a hiring manager doesn’t like a particular trait, it’s always better for you that they discover this in the interview phase because they’ll also have an opportunity to see that you may not fit their stereotype or preconceived notions.
This is why you should consider omitting information on your resume that could identify your age, marital and parental status, etc. Katherine Hansen of Quintessential Careers advises against listing the date of your college graduation if it has been later than 10 years. And Hansen also recommends that you don’t list 15 years of experience because you may look too expensive.
And of course, I couldn’t end this section without some humorous examples from CareerBuilder:
- Candidate applying for an administrative job listed “gator hunting” as a skill
- Candidate’s cover letter mentioned that her family was in the mob
- Candidate stated, “I am very bad about time and don’t mind admitting it. Having to arrive at a certain hour doesn’t make sense to me. What does make sense is that I do the job. Any company that insists upon rigid time schedules will find me a nightmare.”
4: QR (Quick Response) Codes
Contrary to what you may have heard, creating a barcode for your resume isn’t creative, cool, or cutting-edge and it won’t give you a competitive edge. It will help you stand out, but for all of the wrong reasons.
Yes, hiring managers do scan your resume. However “scan” means that they’re hastily reading it. And depending on the company, they’re only scanning each resume anywhere from six to 60 seconds. Now, if they’re spending less than a minute per resume, do you really think they’re going to disrupt this process to stop and scan the QR code on your resume when all of the other candidates included their relevant data in the actual resume?
QR codes are designed to provide convenience, or an incentive (“scan this barcode to receive 20 percent off”). But it’s not convenient to the hiring manager when you use a QR code instead of listing the information or including a simple, clickable link, and they’re not incentivized to go through extra steps when there are plenty of other resumes to review.
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5: An Irrelevant Resume
Sometimes, you’re just not qualified for a particular job. And while you may think it doesn’t cause any harm to submit a resume anyway, sometimes it can damage any future chances with that particular organization.
According to a Bullhorn survey of more than 1,500 hiring managers and recruiters, an irrelevant resume is a serious issue. In fact, 43 percent of survey respondents said they would blacklist candidates that apply for jobs they know they’re not qualified for, and make sure these individuals couldn’t apply for any other job at the organization. Can they really do that? Yep. Bullhorn reports that they can block a candidate’s name from showing up when the company does resume searches.
And in a Chicago Tribune interview, Fred Cooper of Compass HR Consulting confirms that companies do have informal blacklists and candidates who apply for various jobs with different resumes containing inconsistent information, as well as candidates who perform so poorly during interviews that the company considers the interview a waste of time, can end up on these lists.