In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews.
We try to make our blog posts punchy and fun. However, every once in a while, we stoop to using sarcasm to really get the point across. Yes, that’s right, we are going to be so brash as to use shaming techniques in this post. But we shame because we love. And because it drives the point home: people waste a lot of valuable real estate on their resumes. Therefore, please avoid these very common errors!
- “You know how to use Microsoft Word? Really! Wow, you are hired!”: If you have a line on your resume that highlights your ability to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, delete it! Everyone knows how to use these programs. You would be surprised by how many people still list this fundamental skill. If you want to stand out and make the best use of limited space, remove any reference to very basic skills or skills that employers will assume you have. If you aim to work in an English speaking country, English language skills fall into this category.
- “You know how to use ARGUS! Isn’t that great? You are applying for a brand management position, but that skill puts you over the top!”: You need to know your audience and ensure that your resume is relevant to them. Let’s say that you learned to use ARGUS (software used in the real estate world) when you were considering a position in real estate. Now, you are applying for brand management positions and… hiring managers in this field just don’t care about ARGUS! In fact, no one in the consumer products field will even know what ARGUS is. Including it actually makes you seem out of touch. So, save a line on your resume and delete this (or any other) information that is irrelevant to the person who will be reading it.
- “You spent a summer working in a family restaurant in 2005!?? Wow, you are hired!”: Unless your internship is actually relevant to the job for which you are applying, once you have been a full-time professional for three or four years, it is usually best to delete references to distant past temporary positions. Do not dedicate precious space on your resume to a job that you held for a few months many years ago and that is (or should be) dwarfed by your current accomplishments! The one exception to this guideline is if you aim to change careers and that internship provides meaningful evidence of relevant experience that is otherwise lacking in your professional career since.
Take a look at your resume and correct these errors to eliminate wasted space and maximize your impact on prospective employers.