Since being newly unemployed I have had the time to tinker with my resume to make sure that it is working its magic for me when I send it out to a prospective employer. I have a Bachelor’s in Journalism so I thought my resume was pretty darn spiffy to begin with, but I thought a little sprucing up couldn’t hurt it. After a little research I discovered something. My spiffy resume was not so spiffy. Talk about a blow to the ego! No matter, because now I am armed with info and can spruce it up to make sure I can land an awesome job. Well, at least the interview that is!
When I was getting ready to tweak my resume I did a search for keywords that I should make sure are on there. With so many computers scanning resumes for keywords these days it is easy to get left out regardless of your qualifications.
One of the first valuable bits of information I came to were the top keywords that actually weaken your resume. And don’t you know that I had some of them on my resume!
- Vague wording is something that weakens your resume. Examples include: assist, support and contribute. The problem is that these are not descriptive enough.
- Saying you “effectively” or “successfully” did something as opposed to stating exactly what that success was. Sometimes you may even have it spelled out but add in the “successfully” part which can be both redundant and confusing.
- Listing out things that you are “responsible for.” Again this is a telling and not showing your successes. Instead of saying “responsible for phone coverage” it would look much better to say “answered 15 line phone” or something similar.
- Confusing the reader with fancy words or buzzwords. A lot of times you can get a HR person that has no idea what your resume is talking about. I have actually had this happen before. What a nightmare!
On the flipside of keywords and resumes I also found an article about keywords that strengthen your resume. I am ashamed to say that previously I only had one of these on my resume.
- Teamwork. People love to hear that you can play well with others. And it also means to employers that you can be counted on to pick up the slack if someone else on the “team” is falling behind.
- Flexibility. They want to know that you are willing to wear many hats. It’s like multi-tasking, only with more hats.
- Detail-oriented. Employers like it when you are anal and super organized. It means you can be counted on to get things done without someone having to stand over your shoulder.
- Self-motivated. Employers want to see that you will take the initiative and seek out work without waiting for it to be handed to you. I think this goes with flexibility as this kind of person will wear many hats.