Given the current environment, many marketers are dusting off their resumes and trying to remember what they actually did over the past several years. Applications for jobs are at record highs, and many talented marketers are on the market. To add to the mix, a marketer’s resume is judged by a higher standard.
Typically, recruiters and hiring managers can’t spend more than a few seconds browsing your resume before they move on to the next one. Don’t let these common resume pitfalls derail your chances of getting that interview.
1. Don’t state the obvious.
Of course getting a job is the objective of your resume, so there’s no need to say it. We recommend you avoid headers like “Career Objective” or “Goal”. Instead, opt for a header like “Summary” or “Career Profile”, followed by a sentence or two that succinctly summarizes your experience and tells your story.
2. Give the reader “visual breaths”.
This is a fancy way of saying “white space is your friend”. As we said earlier, your resume has only a few seconds to grab the recruiter’s attention. If it’s jam-packed with copy, the reader is likely to feel overwhelmed and click “pass”. Use white space to create digestible bites.
This applies to margins too. If you had to use .2 margins to fit your resume to two pages, get rid of something.
3. Keep it straight with parallelism.
Nope, we’re not talking about geometry. Parallelism means each of your resume bullets should begin with a verb. So “Managed”, “Led”, “Spearheaded”. Do not mix and match with other parts of speech. And make sure you use active verbs – “Manage” packs more punch than “Managing”.
The rule of consistency also applies to your entire resume – the type of bullets you use, the way you format the dates for each position, whether your bullets end with a period or not. (Geeky grammar rule: if the bullet is not a complete sentence, then no period.)
4. Break up with the ampersand on your keyboard.
Your resume is a formal document. Ampersands (&) have no place on that piece of paper. Spell out the word “and” unless it’s an official title such as “Vice President, Sales & Marketing”.
While we’re playing English professor, let’s also talk about numbers. The golden rule – any number under 10 should be written out. So “seven” not “7”. (Hint: check out the title of this post.) The editorial exception is for percentages – 7% is cool.
5. Don’t get Zillowed.
Including your full home address on your resume is considered old school and more importantly, may unintentionally bias the reader into thinking you won’t be up for a commute that you’d actually be open to tolerating. Don’t give the reader an easy reason to throw your resume in the “pass” pile. Plus, you don’t want them stalking your house on Zillow.
6. Pluto your education.
Unless you’re a very recent graduate, the Education section of your resume should be demoted to the end of the document. If you have any work experience under your belt, lead with that. Leading with the Education section makes you look like a career rookie, even if you’re not.
The same goes for GPA and graduation dates. Unless you’re new to the job market, those need to go.
7. Lock it down.
Always send your resume as a PDF. We can’t tell you the number of resumes we’ve seen with wonky formatting because they were sent as Word docs. While not your fault, the reader will think it is. And sending a PDF is also important for your own protection. You don’t want anyone to be able to edit the document.
For more job-seeking tips, make sure to read All Roads Lead to LinkedIn for LinkedIn profile tips and why your profile matters as much as your resume.