How To Erase Common Resume Mistakes

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By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Writing your resume is simple, right? You just open up a Word document and start dumping your responsibilities, a few metrics and just the right amount of keywords onto the page. And voila, that pesky task is done. Wrong! Resumes are strategic marketing communications that must be created thoughtfully and with oomph.

Books are written on the subject and still careerists struggle. One blog post or article cannot comprehensively guide you on building that perfect resume. That said, in bits, bytes and chunks we can construct tips and strategies and highlight everyday mistakes to avoid to help you get out of the resume-writing starting gate. Following are five common resume mistakes along with solutions to fixing them so you can more readily land that next great job!

Mistake #1:

Using an objective. For example: “To leverage my past experience and education to secure a finance management position.” Objective statements traditionally are about you, but today’s resume should be focused on their (employer’s) needs.

 

How to fix: Replace the objective with a focused headline and profile summary that markets your value to alleviate a company’s pain. Example headline:

Financial Analyst
Transforming complex business problems in technology sector into focused, data-backed solutions.

Driving down costs, elevating reporting capabilities and improving decision-making processes.

 

For the other four common resume mistakes and solutions to fixing them, please visit my latest post at Glassdoor: 5 Resume Mistakes and How to Fix Them.

What to Do When an Employer Slings an Oddball Interview Question

By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Your hair and clothes are pristine. You conduct a final run-through of common interview questions. Calm descends upon you. You are confident and cool as you enter the job interview.

That is, until your prospective boss slings a question like those listed on Glassdoor’s annual Top 25 Oddball Interview Questions list. For example:

1. “If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?” -Yahoo, Search Quality Analyst interview.

First, take a deep breath and remember the interviewer isn’t trying to trick you. Instead, they are trying to learn how you think on your feet, how you problem solve or how you work on a team or individually. Through creative or challenging questions, the interviewer wants to find out if you will be a valuable addition to the company and a good cultural fit.

So, back to the question: Remember, it is okay to request clarity before proceeding. You want to demonstrate your ability to ask smart questions and find out all the information you need to inform your answer. For example, clarify if the island is a desert island or is equipped with contemporary amenities, such as access to Internet.

If the latter, you might say you would bring a wifi-enabled laptop with wind generator to charge the batteries, a sharp knife and a lighter! The point is, you have technology to keep up with regular civilization, including workday obligations (laptop); a vital tool in day-to-day operations (knife); and a tool to start fires and create light (lighter), ensuring a more amenable living and working environment. These answers show you can prioritize effectively.

For advice on answering three additional oddball interview questions, follow this link to the full post over at Glassdoor: Four Tips for Answering Oddball Interviewing Questions.

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When Not To Let People Poke Holes In Your Resume

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By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

When faced with a job search, after years of being nose-down in your day-to-day work, it is natural to feel vulnerable and uncertain.

And when you feel vulnerable, it is normal to reach out for reassurance to make sure you are doing the right things. After all, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

Beware Friends Poking Holes In Your Resume Narrative

One of the easiest and most tangible items for your friends, colleagues and mentors to provide free advice on is your resume. Whether you’ve sweated hours, days, weeks (or even months) on your resume or you have hired a professional to write for you, your confidantes will find something about your masterpiece to poke a hole in.

One of the most common go-to opinions is that your resume is too long, too dense and/or too wordy.

Muscular Resumes Will Lift Your Career Story

The truth is if your career message is toned and pumped up with the muscle of your relevant story points, the word fabric will fit the body of your audience’s needs. In other words, they will see a fit career fortified with the nutrients they need to help solve their current challenges such as problems with malnourished sales, sagging profits or shrinking market place. And, they will contact you for an interview.

It’s as simple as that.

For the full blog post, please visit my latest post at Glassdoor: 4 Ways To Avoid Resume Mistakes That Can Slow Your Job Search.

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