10 Reasons Why I’m Completely Unimpressed with Your Bad Resume

By Jill Ater

At 10 til 2 we get about 80 new resumes a day and have a total of more than 60,000 in our database.  Most are pretty decent; but more often than we’d like, we get a doozy of a bad resume. And it’s not that the individual isn’t skilled, educated or a great employee.  It’s that they don’t know how to write a resume.

There are thousands of books on job hunting rife with resume tips.  Every college career counseling office has help; articles are all over the internet with pointers and templates.  Still, some people refuse to get assistance and their resume ends up in the trash and they wonder why they’re not getting a job.

So, here’s a list of my ten biggest resume pet peeves:

1. It’s too long
As anyone who is advertising a job knows, a business will receive at least 10 times more resumes than they need. Most of these applicants are not qualified so the person reviewing the resumes scans through them quickly the first round. According to the experts, reviewers spend about nine seconds looking at a resume. Nine. If your resume is more than two pages long, no one is going to spend the time reading it.  It’s all about highlights. I don’t want to know your life story. All I want to know is why you would be the right person for my job opening. The result of a too wordy resume? Garbage can.

2. It’s too short
I want to know why you are good at what you do. If you just list your past employment and don’t give me any insight as to why you did those jobs well, I have no reason to consider you for the position. Give enough info to make me want to meet you for an interview. Show me that you’ve looked at the job description, have taken the time to evaluate your skills and that you understand the position. What do I do with a too short resume?  It’s in the trash.

3. The font is too small to read
It may be that I’m getting older, but so are most business decision makers I know.  I need reading glasses as it is.  There is no way I can read the six point font you’ve used so you can jam in more words thereby getting all you want to say onto one page. This doesn’t impress me. If I can’t read it, no matter how great it is, it goes into the round file.

4. It’s cutesy
Unless you are applying to be an art teacher at a pre-school or work for Nickelodeon, cutesy is completely inappropriate for business.  I actually had one resume where the candidate laid out her resume with smiley faces for bullet points.  Yuck.  Into the shredder.

5. You have an Objective
An Objective tells me what you want to do. Honestly, I don’t care what you want. I’m trying to fill a job with the person I want, with the skills I want.  Forget the Objective and instead give me a summary of what you do, why you are good at it and how you can help my business succeed.  The fact that you only want to work on Tuesdays within 10 miles of your home and have great work/life balance while learning in a job that can lead you to a higher position tells me you’re narrow, not focused on work and will leave me as soon as you find something better.  It’s waste basket bound.

6. It takes me half the page to figure out what you do
As I mentioned above I quickly want to know what you do and why you’re good.  I like a resume that tells me immediately a summary of this info.  For example:

Seasoned executive administrative assistant with strengths in accounting and customer service. Core competencies include: AP/AR, accounting, taxes, bookkeeping, finance, QuickBooks, Word, Excel, customer service, sales, marketing, and general office.

If it takes me more than a few seconds to understand what you do, you’re wasting my time. That resume goes into the rubbish bin.

7. There are typos
This should probably be number one of my pet peeves.  If you can’t proofread a document as important as your resume, it tells me you won’t be careful with the work you do for me either.  What surprises me is that the people who have typos on their resumes often also state that they are “detail oriented.” Yeah, right. I can’t state this strongly enough: Have someone proofread your resume! Otherwise, it’s headed to the compost pile.

8. You list your high school
We’re all adults here. If you did any post high school education, do not list your high school on your resume. I assume if you went to college that you went to high school. I don’t care that you were on the varsity debate team in 1984 at Central High. Move on.

9. You don’t list your technology skills
Welcome to the technology age.  For almost any professional job you need to know the basics of Microsoft Office.  But I don’t want to assume you have these skills and then find out you don’t. Let me know right on your resume what software and hardware you know and how well you know them. Do you know industry specific software?  Do you work with social media or Constant Contact?  Do you use QuickBooks?  If so, what version and how well? PowerPoint, Prezi, Pinterest or PHP Programming? Tell me.

10.  Your resume doesn’t show you have the skills for the job for which you applied
Any decent job description states the skills needed for the position. For me to consider you for this job, you need to have some of those same words in your resume. I had an event planner position open recently and I got several resumes that didn’t include the word “Event” nor “Planner” anywhere. Now, why would I consider that person?  In fact, like 10 til 2, many companies use parsing software that searches for key words (not unlike a Google search). If you’re in the database and want to be considered for Event Planning jobs you better have those words listed or I won’t even see your resume.  Additionally, using the words from the job description shows me you took the time to evaluate the job and tailor your resume to reflect my needs.  That impresses me.

The road to a new job starts with the resume.  If you’re impressive, make your resume impressive or I won’t even be bothering to meet you.  Don’t waste my time with useless or dated information.  Get help and make that first impression a doozie.




2 Responses to “10 Reasons Why I’m Completely Unimpressed with Your Bad Resume”

  1. Laurie McCaw says:

    Great tips Jill! Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply