Resume Boring

7 Ways Your Resume Is Boring Just Like Everyone Else’s

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The economy seems to be picking up a little, and more and more job seekers are coming to us and letting us know about internal opportunities within their organization they would like to apply to. But even as more opportunities open up, the competition is as strong—or stronger than ever before. That’s why your resume has to be perfect.

Related: 15 Tips For Sprucing Up Your Resume In 30 Minutes Or Less

Why Your Resume Is BORING

Here are seven ways your resume isn’t quite cutting it. So, take it out, brush it off, and let’s kick it up a notch.

1. It’s Still Sporting That Outdated Objective

If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview.

2. The Design/Format Is Generic

There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive, yet you are using an entry-level resume format, you will look unprofessional and under-qualified.

3. It’s Missing Important Keywords

Omit keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process.

4. It Has Generic And/Or Vague Statements

Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you’re a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved.

5. It Doesn’t Focus On Hard Skills

And the championship goes to… hard skills. I used to be a full-time recruiter, and I used Monster and CareerBuilder to search for candidates. Not once did I enter the search terms: great communicator, excellent verbal skills, detail-oriented. These are universal statements millions use to describe themselves. Give me something tangible and relevant to the position I am trying to fill.

6. It Tells Vs. Shows

Instead of wasting valuable real estate on your resume providing me with a rundown of your job description (the same one I’ve read a million times as a hiring manager), show me what you achieved, what you accomplished, and what you contributed in the past.

WOW me with something other than the predictable, mundane job description. I want to know the challenges you faced in your previous roles, how you addressed them, and the results you obtained. This makes you different from everyone else. No two people will have the exact same experiences. Your experiences are what make you outshine your competition—USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.

7. It’s Passive

Using terminology that is passive is boring and lacks action. Instead of using phrases like “served as,” “duties included,” “promoted to,” “worked with”…choose strong action verbs. Action verbs do just what they say: they convey action and, ultimately, results.

The hiring manager is interested in results you can provide about what you did along the way. Choose terms like: Launched, Catapulted, Spearheaded, and Pioneered. These terms tell me something. They show me the action you took and captivate my attention so that I want to read on to discover the results you achieved.

Your resume needs to do two things: It needs to capture the hiring manager’s attention—and it needs to motivate him or her to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. If you look and sound like everyone else, you have no competitive advantage. Therefore, you’ve provided the HR person with zero motivation to pick up the phone, call you, and schedule an interview.

Stop creating a ‘same old, same old’ resume that looks and feels just like everyone else’s. Start by adding some variety and focusing on your accomplishments today.

RESUME SAMPLES ►

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

16 comments

  1. Great article, Jessica. I especially liked your point about showcasing the tangible results you achieved when faced with a challenge. There’s nothing like saying “this is the problem we faced, and here’s the mind-blowing result we got with our solution.”

    If I could add an 8th item to the list, I’d say “It’s Not Online.” I recently read somewhere an argument that “Google is your new resume”… meaning that an employer can find out almost everything they need to know about you by Googling your name.

    That makes a lot of sense to me, and especially if you’re applying to a fun, modern company that’s doing awesome things for the world, like those on the http://gamechangers500.com.

    They typically want people who recognize the importance of a strong online presence and use modern tools to create one. From YouTube cover letters to entire websites dedicated to getting a job with their dream company, standing out online is becoming an increasingly effective way to get attention.

    For anyone looking for some cool examples of this, I have a few in one of my own CAREEREALISM articles, “7 Online Tools That Trump Your Traditional Resume” (http://www.careerealism.com/online-tools-traditional-resume/).

  2. Too American. If I saw a CV presented as suggested here first I’d laugh, second shake my head, third throw it in the bin.

    Anybody doing their own hiring i.e. not relying on somebody can see through such bravado straight away. Try looking at your CV from the readers perspective e.g. does the language and phrases used make you sound as though you’d fit it or does it make you sound like a psycho? The last time I heard somebody catapulted anywhere was during the middle ages. Please use common sense not meaningless rhetoric.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Am I the only one who thinks the author contradicts himself? Use keywords, but don’t be generic. Show what you’ve done instead of telling – but don’t forget to use bull**** bingo words like “spearheaded”. Yes, you should tell what you’ve done and use active vocabulary, but these too can be overdone.

      The author has the objective down right: A resume is there to capture the attention of the reader and make him/her want to invite you to an interview. That should be right at the top of the page. You, Vincent, have explained nicely what I tell everybody: try looking at the CV from the reader’s perspective. More often than not, people will find they have thought too much about what is important to them instead of what their future employer is interested in.

  3. And if you didnt launch, spearhead or catapult?

    What if your sole function was to maintain business as usual? What then, if you were not given the opportunity to launch anything??

    What then?

  4. Nice post, but I find that 90% of the organizations I’m interested in don’t allow you to upload a CV. Instead you have to fill out forms in their databases. While I agree that some of the things you are saying, like “use active verbs” – still apply, many things do not. I’d love to see a blog post about “how to stand out in a sub-par database.”

  5. I would use “catapulted” and “spearheaded” only if applying for a job in Avanced Trebuchet Engineering or perhaps Middle Age War Management. It sounds a bit obsolete. For contemporary positions, I would suggest: cannonballed, ignited, rocketed, shot into orbit and perhaps even “nuked”.

  6. And avoid tech terms and acronyms unless you know FOR SURE that the person you’re sending the resume to will konw (not SHOULD know) what you mean.

  7. Love these verbs: Launched, Catapulted, Spearheaded, and Pioneered. I wonder how many job seekers are actually using such energized verbs to describe what they have done in previous positions. I think it’s a great tip.

  8. Prabhjeet Singh Sethi

    Hi,

    I am currently working as a senior software engineer,expertise in cognos,sql and BI, with a leading master in the IT field in Gurgaon with a total experiece of 4.6 years. Would it be possible for you to provide me with the sample resume for an IT developer with an experience ranging from 4-8 years of experience.

    Appreciate your response on the same.

    Thanks!

  9. Pretty good summary – I would agree with most of the above, and add – make sure you have a summary that gives a quick reference to what you bring – year experience, education, erp or software used, work you’ve done and accomplishments

    Saying you are a team player and can be flexible dont belong on a résumé – if you can’t do these things who would hire you – look for things that they are looking for not what is assumed that the candidate will have

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