For many people, “polishing” a resume means formatting it well, proofreading it thoroughly, and updating it to include the most accurate picture possible of their career accomplishments to date.  For some, however, it also means fudging the numbers to cover up a few months’ unemployment, an “assistant” position, or some other less-than-ideal fact in their employment past.

While the first set of steps creates a resume that presents you in your best possible light, the second set of steps can lose you valuable job opportunities by making you look careless – or worse, deceitful.  To avoid creating a resume that makes you look like a fraud, apply the following tips:

  • Avoid buzzwords.  Not only are they tiresome for hiring managers to read, buzzwords rarely provide an accurate picture of your skills, experience, and accomplishments.  What does it mean to “drive” sales?  When you say you “optimized marketing,” do you mean that you directed work on a new campaign that measurably improved brand awareness – or that you alphabetized the marketing department’s supply closet?  Instead of buzzwords, use plain language to describe your best work.
  • Remember that lies of omission are still lies.   Subtle misstatements, like describing yourself as a “manager” when you were actually “assistant manager” or listing “social media” as a skill when you’ve only ever posted vacation photos on Facebook can come back to haunt you.  Give the job titles you actually have, and research the core competencies demanded in the job description to ensure you actually possess the skills employers in your field are looking for.
  • Don’t fudge the dates.  If you were unemployed for a few months between two jobs, you may be tempted to adjust the dates so the gap looks smaller.  Unfortunately, this is an easy misstatement to get caught making.  Instead, put the actual dates on your resume, and then speak to the realities and positives of your time off.

Hiring managers find resumes valuable because they understand that your past performance is a good indication of your future performance – for good or bad.  If your resume accurately describes your past performance in a way that indicates your value proposition is strong, a hiring manager is likely to look favorably on your application.

At SMR Group Ltd., our experienced recruiters focus on your specific skills, experience, and career goals to help you find a position and company that are a great fit.  Contact us today to learn more!

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