There are a few proactive measures you can take to keep recruiters, human resource porfessionals, and hiring managers from throwing out your resume. These are all pretty much common sense, but often overlooked in an attempt, however desparate, to get a job.
1. Tell the truth. Resume “puffery” automatically makes those reviewing your documents (which are really sales materials) skeptical on why they should waste another second. If you really did increase sales by $1 million, that’s fine. It may be difficult for someone else to believe, if they are knowledgeable about your industry. But, if you did it as part of a team, say that. Companies are looking for team players!
2. Clearly explain employment gaps. You should be up front and honest about this in your cover letter, whether you were a stay-at-home mom for twelve years or you were downsized and haven’t found a job in two years.
3. List GPA and/or Photo?: Only if: You graduated less than two years ago AND, your GPA was 3.5 or better! And no photo! No gimmicks needed.
4. Consistent Information. Make certain that the information on your resume, cover letter, and job application are all matching. And the best way to do that is tell the truth (please see #1 in this list).
5. Job/Career Objective. This is something that limits you and is a long gone practice no longer needed, unless specifically asked for by the hiring organization. If they do, that may signal to you that they are not up to speed with current business processes and may not be a progressive company for which to work.
6. Career Switching. If you are switching careers, or even industries, you need to specifically demostrate who your skills and experience can directly and positively translate to, and impact a prospective employer. Otherwise, it’s likely a no.
7. Follow directions clearly. It’s a sign if you can’t follow the steps that have been laid out for you — and it’s a surefire deal killer! Often, employers create directions for submitting applications that help screen out candiates. It’s another way for them to understand who you are.
8. To tailor, or not to tailor your resume. Absolutely tailor! If you have a good job description and specific information about the company from their website and other materials, it makes perfect sense, and is a common practice, to tailor. Just don’t plagerize or regurgitate what they’ve written about themselves. That would be a turnoff, just as it would be to a high school teacher or college professor. Understand the culture of the organization and its people. If you are a fit, your tailoring should be easy.