Resume Writing 101: How Not to Write a Resume

I get resumes emailed to me each week from people who want me to edit or rewrite their current resume and LinkedIn page, from professionals who want me to critique their resume and offer some free advice on how to improve it, and from people who want me to share their resume with potential employers and recruiters and others in my network.

Not surprising, most resumes I look at are not very good, and here are four reasons why:

1: The document is the same one used in the past and this version is just an update of their previous or present position. The problem is, in most cases the original resume was not that good to begin with, and in many cases it started over 5 years ago and updating a resume that is that old is more harmful than helpful in a job search in 2013.

2: The resume was written using a stock template or worse yet was a recycled version of someone else’s resume in the same field. The problem here is that in most cases the final version is more descriptive of someone else and not the person it is written to represent, and it looks and reads like a generic product.

Generic may be OK and a cost saver in prescription medications, but it is a kiss of death in a resume.

3: The resume focuses too much on describing the title of the position the person held as well as all the responsibilities but failed to show how the person stood out in the job. Thus the impression this left is that the person was one of many potentially qualified candidates; again, not good enough in this market.

4: This is my personal pet peeve. Too many people write a resume and try and cram too much information into it making it visually unreadable, hard for the eye to scan and find relevant info. There is no spacing in between bullet points or thoughts and there are too many run-on sentences.

As always I am available to review your resume at no cost if you email it to

Special Offers From Career Rocketeer: Start you job search off right and “Start Clean in 2013” New Year Job Search Giveaway at

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