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VOL. 130 | NO. 40 | Friday, February 27, 2015

Angela Copeland

Right Your Resume

By Angela Copeland

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Occasionally, I’ll meet with a new client who apologizes profusely in our first meeting. They apologize their resume isn’t well done, and that many of the facts in it are incorrect.

There’s one common thread to these situations. The person has always used a resume writer.

Given that I’m not a resume writer and have never hired one, I don’t want to disparage an entire industry. It very possible these people didn’t give enough information to the writer. Or, maybe there was a proofreading step they didn’t spend enough time in.

Whatever the case, one thing is for sure. Having someone else build a resume for you has major pitfalls.

Yesterday, I received a question from a reader who found an interesting-looking service on popular website Fiverr.com. Fiverr is an online marketplace that offers tasks and services with a beginning cost of $5 per job performed.

The service the reader found advertises a custom resume complete in 24 hours for $5. The sample resume shown contains small charts and a picture of the applicant. The reader asks, “Do these cool, hip resumes look awesome to prospective employers, or are they absurd noise that will get my resume sent to the shredder?”

My advice is simple. You get what you pay for. For $5, it’s not possible for a stranger over the Internet who you’ve never met to create your best resume ever. Your resume is what gets your foot in the door to a job – to a career. It’s worth much more to you than $5.

That’s not to say you should pay someone more money to write one. As I mentioned before, you should write your resume yourself. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. But, at the end of the day, you should know every word on your resume backward and forward. It represents you. Being a passive observer is just not the same.

When it comes to pictures, charts or graphics, be cautious. In the U.S., you should not include a photo of yourself on your resume. Any other extra fancy styling should be kept for a marketing or creative job that will appreciate your efforts. Remember that the online “applicant tracking systems” use keywords to sort through resumes, so charts and pictures will fall off the radar of the system.

A few additional common mistakes cited by New York HR professional Adam Garrison include: “misspelling one’s own name, silly e-mail addresses, or getting the company’s name wrong.” When it comes to resume objective statements, Garrison has also seen, “Need a job to pay the bills.”

The bottom line is, when you’re preparing your resume, take the time to do it right. Highlight the skills you bring to the company that align to the position you’re applying for. Create an objective statement that will resonate with the company’s goals. Use a professional e-mail address and stay away from pictures. And above all, be honest. Don’t forget that include inaccuracies in your resume are grounds for termination.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.”

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