First, let me say this. No two pieces of career advice are the same. Everyone has an opinion about the right and wrong ways to land jobs. I started Hire Level Coaching because I realized something was missing in the career coaching industry, my voice and my perspective. I differentiate myself from other career coaches by explaining the reasoning behind my beliefs. Many career coaches don’t go into detail as to why they believe one thing or another and I make sure that my clients fully understand my rationale. With a degree in Sociology, my reasoning is based in simple human-to-human understanding and the latest trends and research in the industry. I do my best to base my reasoning in logic and what simply makes the most sense. Below are my thoughts about each of the 12 points made in the article.
The first point in the article is a quote from a career consultant with TheLadders, who says that “many mid-level professionals simply tack on experience to their existing resume, rather than editing the entire document.” I agree, this is a mistake. Your resume is a living document and it should change as you and/or your employment changes. Whenever you add information, you should delete less important information.
1. He includes his street address. I agree, this could be a problem, but not big enough a problem to classify as a “terrible” mistake. Since employers will no longer actually mail you anything before you accept the job, it’s not necessary to include your street address. Given the fact that employers can look at your actual house on Google Earth or Google Maps, it begins to become more creepy and less necessary to include your actual street address. I’m pretty indifferent when it comes to this point. But again, it’s not a deal breaker if you have your actual street address on your resume, so I wouldn't have mentioned it. Nowadays, it’s completely okay for you to simply list your City, State, email address, and phone number.
2. LinkedIn Profile is missing. Similar to the first point. This is not a deal breaker. If your LinkedIn profile truly reflects your value you should include the link in your contact information, and by all means, your LinkedIn profile should truly reflect your value. However, it’s not like employers won’t look for your LinkedIn profile even if it’s not listed on your resume. With a simple search of your name and current position and/or company name, it’s very simple for employers to find your profile on LinkedIn. Is it a mistake to not list it, not necessarily, but again, it’s not a deal breaker either. Many of my clients don’ t list their LinkedIn profile link on their resume and they still get called back for interviews.
3. Professional Title and summary are missing. There’s no reason to have a professional title or summary on your resume. A few months ago, Business Insider released an article explaining how employers spend an average of six seconds reviewing your resume before they decide to continue reading or not. If this is true, and I believe it to be so, an employer wouldn't have the time to read a professional summary. Furthermore, what’s the point in having a professional title? Within those six seconds, they’re not looking for a professional title, so why include it? If employers are impressed enough with what’s in your resume, the first thing they’ll do is look for you on Google and/or LinkedIn. Your professional title is on LinkedIn so there’s no reason to put it on your resume.
4. He doesn't mention his areas of expertise. If employers find what they’re looking for within those first six seconds, they’re going to continue reading your bullet points corresponding to your specific jobs. There’s no reason to mention your area of expertise because if your bullet points are organized effectively enough an employer will clearly understand your areas of expertise. Kill two birds with one stone by embedding your areas of expertise while articulating the value you added in your position in more complete bullet points. I organize my bullet points in the Action-Context-Results format. Start out with a strong action verb, followed with a little context around that action verb, and end with the result of that action. After reading these bullet points, it should be apparent to employers where your expertise lies. If you produced great results, no one can disagree with your expertise. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an employer who believes you're an expert without any context, simply because you listed your expertise on your resume. Show, don't tell. Show me how much of an expert you are by the results you've produced, by the value you added. Don’t create another step for employers when they have such limited time to review your resume in the first place. Instead, be very strategic by how you organize your bullet points to showcase your true value.
5. Companies have no descriptions. Your resume is not about the companies you worked for, it’s about you. It’s about your role and the kind of results you produced. Adding company descriptions is a waste of time and space, because this is not what employers are looking for within those six precious seconds. Employers want to know the value you added. Your bullet points should be so clear that someone can understand the company description by viewing them. Again, kill two birds with one stone here. Adding company descriptions will make your resume unnecessarily long. If employers want to know about the companies you've worked for, they will look them up.
6. Everything is bulleted. Everything isn't bulleted. But if employers take an average of six seconds to review a resume, it’s a lot easier to digest bullet points versus a complete paragraph. If employers like what they see in the bullet points, they’ll likely view your LinkedIn profile. If they like what they see in your LinkedIn profile, they will call you in for an interview to find out more information. Everything should be bulleted. Don’t make the job harder on the recruiter by making her read information that could be presented more concisely.
7. Page two is missing a header. First of all, there shouldn't be a second page. This is one of the biggest mistakes for a mid-level professional. You should have a one page resume. The information on the second page could be deleted altogether. Read my article about why a one-page resume is absolutely vital here. Do you ever view the second page of Google search results? Not unless you’re desperate. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the first page, you’re going to redefine your search. Recruiters will do the same thing. Whatever is listed on the second page isn't important, therefore, you should omit it altogether.
8. He includes internships. Employers want to know what you've done lately. If you’re bragging about your internships or the awards you've won in the bubble we call college, it gives the impression that you haven’t done anything impressive since. If you've graduated from college more than five years ago, there’s no reason to include internships. They take up much needed space and you should have had more significant experience since your internships ended. If you don’t have much work experience, it’s perfectly fine to add internships to make for a fuller resume. Finally, there’s only so much value you can create for a company when you've worked as an intern for six months or so, which means you should be more selective about what you include from college.
10. He lists his GPA. If you have a 4.0 or graduated Magna or Summa Cum Laude, you should list your GPA if you have room. It shows that you’re intelligent, or at least make good decisions, and employers want to hire smart people. It’ll take up one line at the most in your resume. Do you really think someone will disqualify you for a job if you had a 3.5 – 4.0 GPA? It’s not a deal breaker, so again, it’s okay to list it. I agree, if your GPA is lower than a 3.5 you can stand to omit it.
11. He offers references. I agree, there’s no reason to disclose your references on your resume, and you definitely shouldn't include the phrase “references available upon request.” It’s a given that references are available upon request because if you don’t provide them when an employer requests them, you won’t be extended the job offer. If you disclose your references too early in the process it could be counted against you. To avoid the potential problems, simply provide them only when asked.
12. He uses Times New Roman Font. How many people are really paying attention to your font type? If they know the difference between Times New Roman and any other font, shame on them. This isn't a deal breaker so it doesn't classify as a “terrible” mistake. Employer’s aren't paying that much attention to a resume, especially if they only have six seconds to review it. If your education is up-to-par and your experience showcases the value you can bring to their organization, you can hand write your resume and still get a call back. An employer won’t disqualify a competent candidate because of their font type. If they do, they should respectfully remove themselves from their position.
The last thing wrong with this resume is the fact that the education section is listed on the second page, at the bottom of the resume. Any position a mid-level professional applies to will have some kind of educational requirement. Since your education section doesn't take up much space, it’s most beneficial to get this out the way up front. And you’re sending a message to employers when you list your education last. You send the message that it’s not important. But it is important. It gave you your foundation. It’s the beginning of your story as a professional. If an employer doesn't view the second page of your resume, she could assume that you don’t have the requisite education for the opening.
This is exactly why I started Hire Level Coaching. I realized that a lot of people are misled when it comes to how to design a resume that reflects their true value, and even more in the dark when it comes to advancing their careers. There’s a real problem in the market when the so-called ‘experts’ are misleading the masses. If you find this information valuable, ‘like’ it and ‘share’ it. I welcome your comments and/or questions.