Saturday, November 3, 2007

More advice from other people

Some guy from some website has posted a list of of things not to do to your resume on some other website. Surely it can't be as awesome as you describe it, I hear you say. To prove I'm not overselling it, let me share the first tip

1. "Responsible for”

The Problem: This is one of the most common, and most amateurish, resume errors. There is no greater example of weak, passive writing than the overused "responsible for." There are two base reasons why this phrase is to be avoided. The first is that it is already understood that the information included in your resume are activities that you were responsible for; this is the equivalent of writing "we cook" before an item listed in a restaurant menu. The second reason is what I alluded to above: "responsible for" is passive, bland, and boring. It does nothing to draw in the reader, and demonstrates no specific or relevant skill. With the average resume being read in approximately seven seconds, the first word or two in each sentence is absolutely critical because it is the information that will be read first and most. Whether anything else in a given sentence will be read at all entirely depends on if the first couple of words strike a chord with the reader. If the hiring manager holding your resume does not spot keywords of interest in those vital locations, then the entire resume is probably going in the trash, no matter how great the rest of your information is.

The Solution: A great way to test the quality of a resume is to read just the first word in each sentence, and see what image those words build of you as an employee. If your first words consist of "responsible for", "helped", "handled", or other passive language, then you´re not creating a powerful or compelling first impression. Open each and every sentence with a power verb that is relevant to the job you are applying for. Words such as "manage", "direct", "administer", and "process" can often be used to replace "responsible for", and are far more effective.

I'll admit, my current resume (the one that got me my current job. Eventually) features this mistake, and that's after campus services fixed it. The previous version was so bad multiple recruiters told me to have it looked at. Maybe I shouldn't be giving resume advice. Anyways, this makes a lot of sense to me, and I'm going to be sure to follow this advice once I have some accomplishments to list.

The others are not quite as fun and magical, but still useful, and the author seems well worth following.

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