Resume Writing: Sample Template and Five Mistakes to Avoid

VIDEO: Tory Johnson tells you how to avoid the most common resume mistakes

In a competitive economy with a weak job market, you can't afford to have a less-than-perfect resume.

While no jobseeker should rely solely on a resume to get you in the door, this all-important document must capture an employer's attention because of your well-presented experience and talents, not because it's filled with easily avoidable mistakes. Use this checklist to follow 10 steps on sending off your resume.

Professional email address.

A fun email address (hotmama, muscleman, vodkaqueen, and so on) may be fine to communicate with friends, but think again before putting it on your resume. Another no? Using your current work email address is also inappropriate. Get a free account from Gmail, Hotmail or another service to use for all job-search related activity.

Click HERE for Tory's web extra tips, and click HERE to see a sample resume template.

Clear, concise summary objective.

In reviewing dozens of resumes, the language in this objective is very common: Manager with more than 30 years of experience as a people person seeks a position in a stable company that offers opportunity for growth. While it's essential to include a summary objective, you want one that focuses on what you offer, not what you want. (It's a waste of space to mention your desire to join a stable company because you want growth opportunities.)

Even though you're proud of your work history, referencing "30 years" of experience screams "older worker" and it'll often knock you out of the running in this market. Swap that for "experienced" without number of years.

"People person" is too vague -- it could be a teacher, a nurse, a sales associate or any number of jobs. A better version: "Experienced financial manager with demonstrated success in maintaining the accuracy and integrity of corporate financials. Well-established ability to manage and problem solve effectively. Passion rooted in non-profit services." In very few words, any reader can instantly understand what this person does.

Mind the gaps.

If you haven't worked since early 2009, for example, consider eliminating months from your resume and use years instead. If your resume indicates that your last position was ended in January 2009, it's clear that you've been out for 19 months. If you drop the month and simply list an end date of 2009, you may have been out of work for only eight months. It's not a lie; just smart spin at first glance.

Don't rehash responsibilities.

Bullets on a resume shouldn't read like a job description; instead, they should read like a celebration of accomplishments. Forget generic because it doesn't convey any sense of competency or success. Ask yourself what sets you apart from others who've held the same role and performed the same duties. For example, "responsible for the budget," should be replaced with "oversaw the management of $2 million annual budget, ensuring precise reporting of actuals against budget. Discovered redundancies that resulted in savings of nearly $100,000." One is vague, while the other is a specific reflection of the scope of the work and accomplishments.

Focus on keywords.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...