Each year, I eagerly await CareerBuilder’s annual survey of outrageous resume mistakes, released this year on September 11, 2013. Human resource people share great stories about funny candidates and resumes so a survey of 3,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals has be to hilarious.
Sure enough, this year’s survey does not disappoint with real-life examples. Some of my favorites include:
- Resume didn’t include the candidate’s name
- Resume written in Klingon language from Star Trek
- Resume listed the candidate’s objectives as “To work for someone who is not an alcoholic with 3 DUI’s like my current employer”
Check out the summary in the CareerBuilder press release.
Aside from outrageous mistakes, the survey released some thought provoking observations that job seekers need to consider.
- Resume length. 77% of employers preferred a longer two-page resume from seasoned employers while 39% of workers, ages 45 and older, use a one-page resume. So, more than one-third of applicants are not providing the information employers want to see. These folks will have trouble finding a job.
- Resume content. More than half of employers said they only want to see experience that is relevant to the job at hand (53%) and primarily within the last ten years (57%) – 41% of workers age 45 and older include their first job. That means almost half of older workers are including way too much information about experiences that is not important to employers.
We have a disconnect between not providing enough information and providing too much information. Employers are not being inconsistent. They are busy. They want you to clearly relate your background to the job in a succinct fashion. They do not want to be overwhelmed with unnecessary detail.
How much information is enough? The key is in the way the question is written. Employers are looking for enough relevant, recent information to determine that the candidate can do the job. They don’t want to know about your paper route in high school or that entry level job you held just out of college. They want to know about the jobs in the last 10 to 15 years that relate to the job you are seeking today.
Let me use myself as an example. I have 30 years of professional experience. If I am applying for a position as Vice President of Human Resources, employers don’t need to read about my first eight years as a Labor Relations Officer or an HR Manager. I can skip directly to the experience as a Director or Vice President.
My resume will provide enough skills and experiences related to the job I want to demonstrate my background without overwhelming with detail. This will probably take two pages. If I try to condense it to one page, I may edit out some important accomplishment that makes the difference to the employer.
Take a close look at your resume or have someone else look at it for you. Does your resume make the connection between your experiences and the job you want? Can you eliminate some unnecessary detail to highlight the point you are trying to make? Sometimes a fresh look at your job search tools makes all the difference.
Next: We look at the CareerBuilder survey of common resume problems.