Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The #1 Resume Killer- Hint- it's not your qualifications!

I frequently receive feedback from employers about the candidates who are applying for their jobs. I keep tight records on the type of feedback received (positive & negative divided into several sub categories). Lately I have hit a steady stream of negative feedback all centered on spelling/grammatical errors found in the candidate’s resumes.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't always follow the rules of grammar & diction with one exception- in my resume. I have always been under the impression that if you need advice or direction to tell you typos in your resume are unacceptable then you in fact are unemployable in this market. This does not mean mistakes don't happen.

If you think back to the jobs you applied for: your background, qualifications & experience. All may have lined up perfectly with the position you applied for. But you never heard back. There is a strong possibility you had a typo in that resume, automatically damning you to the recycling bin or heaven forbid the trashcan.

Don't feel bad everyone makes mistakes. I once circulated a resume stating I attending "by weekly" meetings. Even Colin Powell had his resignation letter returned from the White House because it had spelling errors. It's completely human to make mistakes; however it is also completely human to make snap judgments on first impressions & in this case an unedited resume is the absolute kiss of death in the job search.

Here's why:

84% of executives polled said that one or two typographical errors in a resume removes a candidate from consideration for a job opening, and 47% said it only take a single typo to get your resume doused in gasoline & set on fire.
The survey, developed by Office Team, surveyed 150 senior executives at North America’s largest companies.
Executives were asked, “How many typos in a resume does it take for you to decide not to consider a job candidate for a position with your company?” Their responses:

• One typo - 47%
• Two typos - 37%
• Three typos - 7%
• Four or more typos - 6%
• Don't know/no answer - 3%

“Resumes often are a job seeker’s first contact with prospective employers,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam, in a statement to the press. “Candidates who submit application materials with typographical or grammatical errors may be seen as lacking professionalism and attention to detail, and thus spoil their chances for an interview or further consideration.”

And you’ll need more than your computer’s spell-check. Domeyer suggests have friends and family members to proofread resumes as well. “A fresh pair of eyes can help candidates spot mistakes overlooked by the spell-checking function,” she said. “I’ve often seen simple errors -- such as a job seeker applying for the position of ‘office manger’ -- derail even the most talented applicants.”

Now that we have restated the obvious: spell-check your resume, proof read your resume, have your network proof read your resume & harass a local newspaper editor until they approve it too.

Now if you have submitted a botched resume you can't change that. So as a consolation prize read the following classic resume typo bloopers & take joy in their screw ups (it's good to know they are your competition) Enjoy:

Ten Classic Resume Bloopers
Know Them So You Won’t Make Them
by Kim Isaacs

1. “Revolved customer problems and inquiries.” Just what every employer is looking for — an expert in passing the buck.

2. “Consistently tanked as top sales producer for new accounts.” Sales managers aren’t likely to be impressed with this self-proclaimed underachiever.

3. “Dramatically increased exiting account base, achieving new company record.” If customer accounts were leaving in droves as this statement implies, it’s probably fair to assume that this candidate also tanked as a top sales producer.

4. “Planned new corporate facility at $3 million over budget.” Every hiring manager is searching for employees who exceed budgets by millions of dollars.

5. “Directed $25 million anal shipping and receiving operations.” Either this person is showcasing compulsively stubborn management qualities, or he has a challenging product packaging/storage problem.

6. “Participated in the foamation of a new telecommunications company.” This job seeker was also in charge of bubble control.

7. “Promoted to district manger to oversee 37 retail storefronts.” This is a common resume typo. There must be literally thousands of mangers looking for jobs in today’s modern world. Here’s a tip: Use your word-processing program’s find/replace feature to quickly correct this common mistake. You can also modify your application’s spelling dictionary so it won’t recognize the word “manger.”

8. “Experienced supervisor, defective with both rookies and seasoned professionals.” Many of us have had a boss like this at some point in our careers, but you usually don’t find them being so up-front about their leadership inadequacies.

9. “I am seeking a salary commiserate with my training and experience.” There are a couple problems with this statement. To begin with, salary requirements don’t belong on a resume. Secondly, a salary should be “commensurate” with experience (meaning proportionate to), not “commiserate” with (meaning to express sympathy for).

10. “Seeking a party-time position with potential for advancement.” Sounds like a fun job.

FYI- this post was not thoroughly spell checked or proofed so have it.

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