Have you been applying for jobs and not getting a response? Maybe the reason is your résumé.
Today a friend gave me a résumé they received for a position as a restaurant server. It was not submitted as a joke. I’d like to use this résumé as a basis to give you a few hints. I’m going to call him “Danny” when I refer to his résumé.
(And, for what it’s worth, one of my old jobs was doing resume critiques, so while I’m not an expert resume writer, I’ve seen enough to know a few good things and what NOT to do!)
1. Make sure your educational experience flatters your skills. Traditionally people will put a GPA or honor received when listing their educational experience. Danny didn’t go that direction:
Such and Such University: “Was a Computer Science Major. I never got my degree. My priorities have changed now, so this doesn’t matter.” Such and Such High School: “Here I was the biggest loner in the world because my parents decided to move me around with them every single year of high school, and I’m naturally reserved.”
Ready to hire Danny? Hm… maybe not.
2. Work Experience should show consistency. Danny’s job history showed eight positions in two years, each one for two-to-four months. This is a flag for a prospective employer. Additionally, one of Danny’s jobs was at a ski slope as a cook and busser. In his skill acquired at the job he wrote:
“Improved my Snowboarding Skills immensely. By the end of the season I was able to ride “switch” and perform 180-airs in both directions. I gave myself whiplash twice learning to ride switch. I cut-in at high-speed and landed a somersault unintentionally one time and played it off like I meant to do it.”
Just a hint — don’t tell a prospective employer you used other bosses time to learn to fake stuff and play off a lie as truth. Tends to make you look dodgy.
3. Choose bullet points to highlight significant skills, avoid mentioning medical issues. Danny-boy was a master at pulling skill sets out of his various restaurant jobs… but not necessarily skills that showcased leadership abilities. For example:
“Cleaning Really Well Before a Health Inspection.” “Made at least $50 in tips every day.” “Serving plates of THE BEST home-style breakfast ever, sometimes Three Plates in One Hand!” “Carrying Humongous Trays on my shoulder with Sizzling Hot Fajitas erupting right next to my ear.” “Had my first hypoglycemia symptoms.”
It’s not necessary to mention health conditions, disabilities, family status or even gender in a résumé. Granted, you can self-disclose, but I’d think twice before telling a future employer you’re hypoglycemic. Probably avoid mentioning mental illness as well. Just a thought.
4. Double check the spelling of the entire resume, but especially your previous work place. Danny misspelled the name of one of the restaurants where he was employed for four months. He lives in a small town and is applying for a position in a competitor’s establishment. If he couldn’t be bothered enough to get that detail right… he might not be bothered enough to get his new responsibilities right.
5. Watch for Contradictions. Danny self-disclosed he was naturally a reserved person in his high school experience. At the end of his résumé he listed “Social Small-Talk Skills” under Additional Skills.
Hm… something doesn’t add up here. Check your résumé over for points where you may show instability or contradiction. Correct those areas. The job market is competitive enough it’s important to put your best foot forward.
Good luck with your search. Hope this put a smile on your face – and send up a prayer for our Danny boy. He didn’t get the job at the restaurant.
What are some résumé gaffes you’ve seen or committed?