An Entry from the Job Hunter's Journal

Recruiters’ Top 10 Resume Pet Peeves

I  was just looking through a listing of Recruiters’ Top 10 Resume Pet Peeves by Norma Mushkat, from a posting that I had downloaded from the Internet several years ago.   Since I was one of the 2,500 recruiters who contributed to the survey, I received a copy.  The original list had 20 items and is listed at   Norma Mushkat shortened the list and added some recruiter comments.  I will list everything verbatim and just wanted to make a note that the number 6 pet peeve is functional resumes.  I was going to devote a blog to writing functional resumes but since I really dislike them, and I don’t seem to be alone, I decided to provide this listing instead. 

Recruiters’ Top 10 Resume Pet Peeves:

10.  Personal Information Unrelated to the Job

With the limited time recruiters spend on your resume, you don’t want to distract them with your age, height, weight and interests unless they’re directly related to the work you want to do. 

 9.  Unqualified Candidates

You may want a job, but if you don’t have the skills and experience needed, recruiters will feel you’re wasting their time.  Look at the job description.  Be sure to highlight the skills the are looking for with a bulleted list of your related qualifications at the top of the document.

7.  Long Resumes and 8.  Paragraphs – Long Paragraphs instead of Bullet-points.

“I simply don’t have the time to read them,” says Bob Moore of Computer Recruiters, Inc.  Focus on the skills and accomplishments that directly apply to the job you’re trying to get.  Every word counts so don’t dwell on the specifics of each job, but rate the highlights specific to you.

6.  Functional Resumes

Whenever possible, recruiters advise you go with chronological resume and focus on the skills and accomplishments that pertain to the job you’re seeking.  If you are concerned about a layoff, be assured that “nowadays, unemployment is quite prevalent, and recruiters regard it differently,” says Jeanne Pace of Pace Search Services.  “Most people do something to keep their work (skills) going.”  Use that information to fill in the gaps.

5.  Poor Formatting

Different typefaces and boxes may look nice on paper, but if the resume needs to be scanned, they can cause confusion.  Recruiters suggest keeping your resume in plain text.

4.  Inaccurate or Missing Contact Information

“You create a resume for one reason:  To get a phone call,” says Kim Fowler of Fowler Placement Service Inc.  How can someone contact you if the phone number is  missing a digit or your email address is incorrect?  Be sure every resume you send has you correct contact information, including name, phone number, email address and street address.  Recruiter will not look you up; they’ll move on to the next candidate.

3.  Inaccurate Dates or None at All

Recruiters need to know when you worked where to get a better understanding of your work history and to use the dates for background checks.  According to Kathi Bradley of Bradley Resources, “Missing dates, especially for long periods of time, could send up a red flag, and the resume may be discarded as a result.”

Include specific ranges in months and years of  for every position.  If you have gaps, explain them either in your cover letter of introduction, but not you resume.  “It always helps to continue your education and training and to list any volunteer work during a slow period,” says Bradley.  “listing these under education or volunteer work should explain some of the gaps.”

2.  Too Duty-Oriented

“If you’re using your company’s job description, you’re missing the point of your resume,” says Paul Schmitz of Hufford Associates.  Recruiters already know what the job is; your resume should highlight your accomplishments in that position.  Schmitz advises you show what you’ve really done by outlining the process, outcomes and results that are specific to you.

1.  Spelling Errors, Typos and Poor Grammar

According to Bruce Noehren of J. Douglas Scott & Associates, this directly reflects your reputation.  “You don’t gain anything by getting it right,” he says.  “This is credibility you should already possess.”