After seeing thousands of resumes as corporate HR and having written hundreds of resumes as a professional resume writer, the biggest resume mistake made consistently is what I like to call, “Resume Identity Disorder” or RID.
Does your resume suffer from RID?
Resume Identity Disorder or RID is when your resume presents itself as job description or job posting. To determine if your resume suffers from this disorder, simply google or search job sites like monster, career builder, etc. for your job title and compare the job description or posting against your resume. If it looks identical well then I am afraid your resume has RID (how can you tell I am a psychology nerd?)
The bad news about RID is it is very common, almost 80% of the resumes I have seen suffers from this in one form or another. The other bad thing about this resume disorder is that it makes your job application camouflage in the stack of resumes. How does writing your resume like a job description or posting make your resume invisible to hiring managers? Because every other applicant who has done that job will have the same resume as you.
Compare the entries in your resume against the job description for those job titles. If it looks the similar, then how will it stand out from the stack?
Let me illustrate with an example. Recently an accounting professional who we will call Jim Beans approached me for our professional resume writing service. Jim felt frustrated because he had very little success applying for several Senior Accountant type jobs with some high profile employers. Upon reviewing Jim’s resume I immediately recognized that his resume suffered from a bad case of RID – Jim’s resume basically read like a job description. In his resume he had entries with job titles like junior accountant, accountant, etc. And in each one of these entries he had inserted the job duties associated with the job title i.e. prepare company year end financial reporting and so on. By inserting a description of the duties performed in his job history, Jim effectively made his application invisible to the hiring manager. This is because the hiring manager who is screening resumes for the Senior Accountant vacancy is likely receiving applications from other accounting professionals who have been an accountant. And it is also very likely that many of these applicants have inserted the accountant job description into their resume.
So now that you know about RID, the top resume mistake, what can you do about it? In other words, how do you get rid of RID? (sorry but I had to..) Well, you can start by being clear about what you want to achieve when writing your resume. Remember, the overall goal is to create a document that is compelling and unique so that it creates interest from an employer. To do this look at your resume and ask yourself questions that include, “What makes me unique that would be an asset to this employer?”, “How can I distinguish my resume from the others while speaking to the employer’s requirements?”, “What accomplishments have I achieved that are notable?”.
By asking yourself the kind of questions above when writing your resume, you will prevent your resume from being boring and write a resume as unique as it’s author.