Tag Archives: resume writing


Nothing tests a hiring manager’s patience more than those often seen résumé mistakes which, for just a little bit of time and attention on the writer’s part, could lower the reader’s stress level and further the candidate’s cause. Here are some of the most annoying résumé cringe factors that don’t seem to go away:

Always tell the truth. Even if you make it through the Applicant Tracking Software, aka ATS, there are other credibility check-points for dates of employment, job titles, and gaps, to name just a few. Use a cover letter, not a cover-up, to address in a positive way any job candidacy issues.

Buzzwords are business lingo with a short shelf-life. Knowing when they’re overused and outdated is key to crafting a compelling résumé. Be wary of terms like synergy, outside the box, game changer, guru, coopetition, wheelhouse, organic growth, leverage, visionary, growth hack, viral, blogosphere, paradigm shift, disruptive, heavy lifting, hit the ground running, and other outdated terms. Ordering an Adam and Eve on a raft in today’s modern diner will not get you two poached eggs on toast.

If you want to bypass the ATS altogether and go direct to the circular file then spell the hiring manager or recruiter’s name wrong. Nothing is more insulting to personal pride than having one’s name misspelled. Long before the modern trend of deliberately altering the conventional spelling of traditional names became popular in naming babies and recording artists, careless people misspelled ordinary names like Michael and Margaret, reversing letters (Micheal) or leaving them out (Margret). And, misspelling your own name is even worse, but I’ve seen it happen. Don’t rely on spellcheck. “There,” “they’re,” and “their” all sound alike but have different meanings. Double-check how the company name is written, too.

“References available upon request” at the bottom of a resume is outdated. If it’s in your résumé, take it out.

For industrial designers, graphic artists, and anyone whose candidacy is portfolio-driven, include the links, just like you would for your email address and LinkedIn profile. I never cease to be amazed at how many talented and creative people refer to their work without providing the hiring manager with a direct connection URL. If a recruiter on the average spends a mere 6 to 11 seconds perusing your resume, do you think they’re going to take the time to find examples of your work? You must be your your PR person and talent agent and make your creativity easy to click to.

Saying that you are skilled at Microsoft Office Suite, in particular, Word and Excel or Outlook email dates you for most office and managerial positions. These are take-it-for-granted-you-know-them-skills. Even social media, the prevalent communication currency today, is outdated resume content unless you’re applying for a social media job and need to describe things like campaigns you’ve created. It’s better to use your résumé real estate to list those in-demand skills that make you the exceptional candidate.

Schedule a FREE 15-minute career consultation with Certified Professional Career Coach Garrison Leykam at https://calendly.com/garrison-1

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The Résumé Rider: Increase Your Résumé Return

Almost everyone that asks my career advice comes to me with the comment, ” I send out lots of résumés but I never hear anything. It’s frustrating. What am I doing wrong?” Never hearing back from employers can be frustrating and it’s a common complaint for job seekers who are relying solely on job boards. Here’s how online job hunting ranks among other job search strategies: Continue reading The Résumé Rider: Increase Your Résumé Return

The Résumé Rider: Why Cover Letters Are Important

The controversy over whether to include a cover letter with your résumé when you apply for a job has been as hotly debated as whether or not to wear a helmet when you’re motorcycling. According to NHTSA, in 2015, 40% of the motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets. Statistically similar, 45% of job seekers don’t include a cover letter with their résumé. While I surely won’t compare motorcycle fatalities to sending a cover letter with your résumé, I will tell you that the chances of your résumé being seen by a recruiter or a hiring manager are greatly reduced when you don’t include a cover letter. In fact, 9 out of 10 executives communicated in a recent survey that they found cover letters to be valuable in evaluating job applicants.  Continue reading The Résumé Rider: Why Cover Letters Are Important

The Résumé Rider: The Importance of Using Action Keywords in your Résumé

Imagine you’ve just prepared and served an amazing dinner and one of your guests inquires, “This dinner tastes fantastic! What’s in it that tastes so good?” Would you respond by saying, “Let me tell you about the ingredients: I drove to Stop & Shop and when I turned into the parking lot I went to Section 3 and pulled into a parking space near the shopping carts. I pulled out one shopping cart after another from the nearby cart stand until I found a cart that had wheels that weren’t broken. I then pushed the shopping cart through the parking lot until I got to the main doors then entered the one marked ‘Welcome.’ Rather than go right to the spices aisle, I started in the deli department to shop for the kids’ sandwiches for next week.”  Continue reading The Résumé Rider: The Importance of Using Action Keywords in your Résumé

The Résumé Rider: What is ATS?

Applicant Tracking Software or ATS is used by companies to streamline their hiring process. It removes all formatting from your résumé and “parses” it to extract readable data, such as your contact information, work history, skills and education. 90% of Fortune 500 companies screen job applicants through an ATS before your résumé is even seen by a live person.  While human recruiters look for the basic errors to reject and pare down the number of résumés submitted (such as spelling errors and the lack of relevant job skills), ATS is a sophisticated match game. It stores your résumé in its database then searches for keywords in a particular job opening to see how strong a fit you are. The ‘best fit’ candidates show up at the top of the search results. Continue reading The Résumé Rider: What is ATS?