Monday, April 16, 2012

Five Resume Reminders, Courtesy of the IRS

There are some things that you just shouldn't do.

I was reminded of this while watching CBS Sunday Morning today. A worker for H&R Block was explaining all of the ways that past clients had tried to lie on their taxes: making up home offices, inventing dependents that didn't exist, and other nefarious yet creative actions.

Not good. Not smart. You would never do something so foolish.

But you are.

Resumes-despite all of the advice dispensed by professional after professional-are still found violating these intractable no-nos. Follow these to keep your application materials from not getting a trashcan audit:

Do not put a photo or birthdate: Employers don't want this information on a resume. At the resume stage of the game it's too personal, with some HR departments fearing that-knowing this information-they could open themselves up to discrimination lawsuits. So keep it off. Note: the situation is a bit different here in Europe, where this practice isn't necessarily frowned upon, but in America keep the photo and birthday off.

Do not include an objective: Objectives boggle my mind. I know what your objective is: it's to get my darn job! Substitute a strong summary of qualifications statement in lieu of an objective to quickly summarize your qualifications and accomplishments.

Do not only list your work locations and dates of employment: Your resume should not simply be a chronology of your work history. Employers are going to want to see how what you have done in your past directly relates (or relates as closely as possible) with the position available. They want to know the details, not just where you worked. On that note, be sure to...

Do not omit your accomplishments: Your job duties ("Sold men's clothing") are different from your accomplishments ("Increased sales 43% during tenure in the men's clothing section"). Highlight your accomplishments in your resume, particularly as they relate to the position being applied for.

Do not lie on your resume: About anything. Ever. Period. And if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't put it on there.

Make a strong case to a future employer and outshine the competition by heeding these "do not dos."

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