Average job tenure is roughly 4.4 years, with Millenials expecting to be in their current job for less than 3 years. Long tenures mean most people prepare or update a resume every few years (at most). As a result, individuals are often not up to speed on best practices when it comes to crafting a resume intended to wow a hiring manager.
The below content details a few common mistakes people make and provide some simple solutions for those looking to improve their resumes.
#1 Mistake: Listing tasks and responsibilities
Better Approach: Focus on accomplishments
Result? Inherent in communicating accomplishments will be some dialogue about how the end was achieved. This should also include an appropriate level of detail about tasks and responsibilities necessary to drive the outcome. Start by asking questions like “what am I proud of?”, “what did I lead?”, “what did I participate in that impacted my team or company?”. These key accomplishments will then be the focal point - with the what, when, and how providing supporting context. This will show a level of thought and connectedness between the company, team strategy and tactical day-to-day actions.
#2 Mistake: Using company specific acronyms and terms about projects, departments, and tasks
Better Approach: Translate company specific acronyms/terms into more universally understood terminology
Result? Every company does not use the same terminology. Make sure your accomplishments are not only put into the correct context, but understood overall. This becomes especially relevant when applying for a role outside of your current industry.
#3Mistake: Listing employers/dates, and then going right into bullets about your role
Better Approach: Provide a quick narrative on company size, number of employees, industry, geography, market, ownership structure, and department
Result? This context will be very important to the reader, particularly if prior employers aren’t household names or brands, or if applying to relocation opportunities. Many times, hiring managers like to see employment context analogous to their own situation; this approach sheds light on your accomplishments, job title, and shows scope a lot better. Were you a Senior Software Engineer at a 5 person startup that grew to 100 people and built transformative technology? Or were you a Senior Software Engineer for a mature, publicly traded financial institution with a 500 person development shop, on a team focused on building secure applications? Context matters!
A great resume is the ticket to get a foot in the door. A well crafted resume could mean the difference between a call back on a great opportunity and the frustration of applying to the online abyss without any response. Avoid these common mistakes and increase the likelihood of landing that next great opportunity.