Résumé mistakes that will haunt you

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The witching hour has arrived.

You have decided to set forth on that long-awaited job search, or you have been unhappy in your current job and it is time for a change in venue.

If you want to attend that Halloween party you got invited to, a creative eye-opening costume is a necessity.  Likewise, in the world of job hunting, a customized, skillfully-worded résumé is essential.

Most of us have experienced the “treats” of a new job offer and how great it can make you feel, but we all – job seekers and employers alike — want to avoid the “tricks” of a poisoned résumé.

It might help if we review some of the ghostly tricks that haunt many job seekers:

  • A typographical error is rotten;
  • A grammatical error is worse;
  • A misspelled proper name is instant dismissal from bobbing for apples;
  • Listing an inappropriate, non-professional email point of contact is a black cat in a dark alley;
  • Factual errors of GPA, educational institutions, awards or previous jobs can start the engraving of your tombstone;
  • A phone number or email link that does not work is a witch’s spell gone wrong;
  • Listing high school information shows you still need an parental escort after dark;
  • Not customizing résumés for an industry-specific employment opportunity can lead to your house or car being egged;
  • Failing to use key words from the job description and to show off your skills are akin to a witch without her broom;
  • Offering too much information on past internships or jobs may result in howling by the reader;
  • Typefaces that are hard to read, fancy borders or designer paper make the reader question your judgment as well as your choice of costume;
  • Gaps in information or timelines can result in the loss of your best candy; and
  • Either too long or too short a résumé can cause a nasty fall while running through a neighbor’s yard.

Please give adequate time in preparation of your all-important résumé and have trusted friends and family read it over and over for accuracy, descriptive wording, compelling organization and clarity.  Human resource and hiring managers will hail your good work with Halloween candy corn, and perhaps a “treat” of an interview and/or job offer will await you!

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Mike Fulton, an instructor in the WVU Reed College of Media’s Integrated Marketing Communications program and director of the Washington, D.C. office of Asher Agency, offers tricks and treats @hillrat1156.

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