5 signs that you have a boring resume
Résumés are fairly cut-and-dry documents. Following the traditional “template” helps you convey your background and essential skills in a way that’s easily grasped by a hiring manager. But coloring inside the lines too closely could result in a resume that’s a yawner.
“I read résumés and cover letters daily and there are usually a couple handfuls of those that are unique and different and pull me in, making me want to interview this person,” says Cheryl Hyatt, cofounder of Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search.
While what makes a résumé interesting may be subjective, here are five signs that your résumé is lackluster:
It’s Missing Numbers
A résumé usually regurgitates the responsibilities you had in your position, but it shouldn’t be just a bunch of words. A vice president, for example, would list that they oversee a team, but that’s boring, says Hyatt.
Numbers help underscore accomplishments and demonstrate that you understand your role and your job. For example, “I increased productivity in my department by X percent.” Or, “Retention on my team was at 98% while I was in charge.”
It’s Too Comprehensive
Keeping things simple is most important when it comes to writing a résumé, and that means weeding out information that isn’t relevant, says Janet Sheffer, associate director of employer engagement at Arcadia University in Philadelphia.
Some skills may be transferable, but if it results in a résumé that’s more than two pages, it can feel heavy and hard to digest. Focus on the most important jobs and duties, suggests Amy Marcum, manager of HR services for the HR provider Insperity.
“Listing work history from high school, college, or several decades prior can seem unfocused and lose a recruiter’s interest as they sort through irrelevant jobs,” she says. “Exclude roles from a résumé that do not illustrate relevant skills or success.”
It Duplicates Your Cover Letter
“You don’t want a cover letter that just reiterates what’s on your CV, and you don’t want a CV that’s so long and broad that you don’t have anything left to describe in your cover letter,” says Hyatt.
Vicki Salemi, career expert for the job site Monster.com, suggests being intentional about including action-oriented verbs attached to responsibilities. For example, “leading teams,” “driving engagement,” and “running operations.”
“Your executive summary is one area to focus on since the rest of your résumé will highlight your work experience,” says Salemi. “Adjectives like ‘dynamic,’ ‘go-getter,’ ‘self-starter’ are some examples of vibrant words to use.”