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Critique Your Resume

Presenting oneself to a potential employer can be a difficult task. 

It is important not to feel intimidated by the thought of competing with top résumé writers or specialists.  A jobseeker can easily create their own résumé, as long as that person knows what to list, what to eliminate, what to highlight, and in what order to place this information.

Each résumé is critiqued utilizing the following steps:

  • What is the candidate’s position and does the document satisfy target audience requirements?
  • Does the resume present this candidate’s skills, qualifications and number of years of experience i a concise manner?
  • Is there irrelevant information within the document?
  • Is there a nice ratio of keywords or key phrases relating to the candidate’s background?
  • Does the document contain typos, sentence structure problems or other common mistakes?
  • Is the resume formatted properly with the same font style and appropriate type size?

These errors can cause a candidate’s résumé to be ignored for an open or upcoming position. Once the jobseeker is thoroughly aware of their target position, knows the audience, and has a nicely designed and well thought-out résumé, he or she is ready to use these tools to their advantage…assuming they are applying for an obtainable position – backed by necessary skills, qualifications, and/or education.  

Let’s take the above critique process one step further by reviewing, in detail, what jobseekers do to sabotage their chances of landing a better job.

Skills Redundancy.
Over the years, you may perform the same types of duties. To enumerate the same skills over subsequent years causes skills redundancy within a résumé. Plan how the resume should be laid out of avoid this problem. 

Note:  A chronological layout can be the main reason the duplicate skills and qualifications are reflected repetitively.

Keyword and Key Phrase Potency.
Certain skills and educational requirements are standard among various types of positions.  These skills in essence "brand" the candidate's knowledge of the industry/field being targeted.  Keywords assist in setting oneself apart from others based upon uniqueness.  These keywords should be adjusted continuously, catering to the job candidate's target market.

Lacking a Career Objective.
This portion of the résumé is crucial. It communicates what position(s) the candidate is seeking.

Listing a high school degree is fine only if you’re a recent graduate.  Once a person receives and satisfies the requirements for a college degree, the high school degree is implied. 

Job Relevancy.
If a jobseeker is applying for a position as an account representative, why would that person list an entire paragraph - or more - about their stint as a caterer five years ago?
Tell the employer just what they WANT to know, and no more.  Downplay all irrelevant skills, qualifications, and job history that does not relate directly to the target position.

Telling a Company More Than They Need to Know.
In general, a résumé follows the same rules as an application. A 10-year history is sufficient, unless the jobseeker has been employed with the same company longer than the 10-year cutoff. 

Learning various résumé tips and tactics can ensure a top-quality professional presentation and layout. The art of creating a document that will set you apart from other jobseekers can be a difficult task, but can be achieved if you are willing to put in the time necessary to discover the best résumé style.

Deborah Walker, CCMC is a Resume Writer & Career Coach
*This article has been edited to present the content more concisely.