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How NOT to Get an Interview: Writing a Resume That Keeps Employers Away

            Everyone talks about GETTING an interview, about GETTING a job.  Have you ever wondered how to avoid generating any interest from employers?  This article will give you some tried and true...

            Everyone talks about GETTING an interview, about GETTING a job.  Have you ever wondered how to avoid generating any interest from employers?  This article will give you some tried and true ways to keep hiring managers away from you. 

            Of course, if you actually want to GET interviews, you’ll avoid doing everything listed here, despite what you may hear from other job searchers.    Be aware though, that as outrageous as some of these scenarios sound, job hunters use them every day in their resumes.  So, you’ll be in good company.  However, if you want to stand out from the crowd (in a positive way!), avoid at all costs!

1)      Make your resume as general as possible.

If you want a sure-fire way to get your resume into the slush pile, this is it.  When you’ll take anything, it appears that you fit nothing.  Employers don’t want to spend precious time trying to figure out what position you’re applying for.  If you really want to get their attention, decide what position you’d like to apply for, and write your resume with that in mind.  Start by providing a strong summary, making mention (preferably in the first line) of the job title you’d like to have.  Then, think through each duty and job you’ll be listing, and make sure it’s targeted toward the position (and industry), you’re seeking.

2)      List every volunteer and extra-curricular activity that you’ve ever done.

This seems to be one of the most pervasive myths when it comes to resume writing-more is better.  Listing everything you’ve ever done can only help, right?  Wrong.  You only have a few pages at the most to let an employer know why you’re the perfect candidate for their position.  One way to do this is to focus on the activities that would help you on the job.  For example, let’s say you’ve spent years volunteering with children.  While a worthwhile endeavor, it doesn’t make sense to include on the resume of someone applying for a job as an accounting manager.  However, if the volunteer work involved budgeting for a children’s program, that would be a great addition to your volunteer/additional activities section.

3)      Write your resume in whichever order you feel like.

Does it really matter which heading goes first-education, experience, or volunteer work?  Yes.  It’s important to highlight your most relevant activities by keeping them higher up on your resume.  If you’re a recent college graduate hoping to get a job as an accountant, you should start with “education” and list your accounting degree.  Your work experience as a waiter and cashier are still valuable, though not as relevant, and should be further down.  On the other hand, if you’ve progressively moved up in the same field for the past 20 years, your education, though still important, takes a backseat to your work experience.  This should therefore be listed farther down.  The same system applies to volunteer work.  If you’re switching careers and you only have volunteer experience in your new field, that should be near the top of your resume.

4)      Write your responsibilities in whichever order you feel like.

This is similar to the point listed above.  If you’re applying for a managerial position, list those duties that can help you in that job.  Even if you’ve never been a manager, think back to responsibilities that would apply.  For example, list “in charge of department in supervisor’s absence,” toward the top, and keep “assisted” farther down.  Of course, not everything will be a skill directly used in the position you’re applying for.  However, those that are should be the most obvious, and this means listing them higher up.

5)      Don’t waste your time quantifying results.

Not quantifying won’t necessarily get your resume thrown out, but it won’t make it stand out either.  Quantifying adds an extra spark.  What’s more interesting to read:  “Managed sales staff,” or “Managed sales staff of 50, at a Fortune 500 Company”?  As you list each duty, be sure to ask yourself “how can I quantify this?”  Some obvious ways are through number of people, time saved, and increased efficiency.   

            There you have it…ways to avoid getting an interview based on your resume.  However, if a new job is your goal, be sure NOT to do these thingsFree Reprint Articles, and you’ll soon be on your way to a new position!

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Charlotte Weeks is a professional resume writer. She has a background in human resources and is active in two professional resume writing associations (PARW & NRWA). Services include resumes, cover letters, salary histories, and reference lists. For more information, go to:

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