The #1 Resume Mistake
There are copious resources available regarding resume writing and templates, so let’s not waste time rehashing the obvious mistakes people make, such as typos, no white space, poor formatting, too much text or leaving off important details. I am a professional recruiter, and this is the mistake I see more often than any other, and one that drives me crazy:
Most people fail to add a sentence under the name of the company where they worked, which describes what that company makes or does. (Additional info, like the size of the company would also be nice.)
Here’s a fun google search template of a John Smith that immediately pops up yet encourages to disregard a descriptor of the company, showing that the rare focus on this aspect is exceptionally common.
Why is it important? Although you or John may know what the company does cannot lead you to assume that I do. What industry are they in? How big are they? In the context of the job you are seeking, how is this past employment relevant? The first person to screen your resume is not necessarily the person who would be your boss and “ought to know” what all of the industry lingo and abbreviations you use mean.
That’s it. My big bugaboo. Of course if you have typos, you get demerits, if you don’t list dates where you worked chronologically, I will wonder what you are hiding. If you use run-on sentences and leave no margins I will assume you talk too much. If you are too brief and do not describe the company you worked for and what you did for them, I will assume you are not detail-oriented, or lack common sense.
But when you do not describe the company where you worked, to give me a context in which to evaluate the significance of your position, in light of your career objectives and job history, I am forced to stop and google the name of that company. If I have to do that for each position on your resume, I get crabby. I will do it if you otherwise seem to be a stellar candidate, but if not, I will put you in the “maybe” file and you may never make it to the “take a second look” pile.
So there you have it. One line: XYZ company, a (size of company in annual sales or number of employees) maker/distributor/retailer (choose adjective describing what they do) in the (type of industry) for/to (type of customers). Below is an example of what you and our friend John ought to do.
Alcom Electronics, Reynosa, Mexico 2000-2004
A $300M Tier-One supplier of electronics for the automotive industry, with customers including Chrysler, Honda, General Motors, and Mercedes-Benz, among others.
Or: BAL-SEAL Engineering, INC., Orange County, California 2009-2016
Manufactures and distributes custom engineered sealing, electrical connecting and latching solutions to medical device, aerospace, automotive and industrial customers worldwide.