When teaching resume classes, I like to say that you should treat your resume like a valuable piece of real estate. But here’s the thing: it’s also a very tiny piece of real estate measuring at a mere 93.5 square inches! That’s assuming it’s a one-page resume, which we require at Alliance. So given this valuable real estate, you don’t want to include things that won’t add much value. If you’ve done any kind of resume research, you’ve probably seen many different resume formats. You can argue the pros and cons of each, but here I want to focus on items I have seen on resumes that add no real estate value. Instead, they just take up wasted space.
An Objective Statement This is a pretty wasteful ‘old-school’ item that is still common on many resumes. In such a statement, the candidate basically says, “I want a job that meets the following characteristics: x, y, z ….” The objective statement is rather wasteful because it is redundant. Why would you be applying for a job that didn’t meet your objective in the first place? From a hiring manager’s perspective, it’s not as if they read an objective statement and exclaim: “Awesome! This candidate wants a job just like the one I have open.” Regretfully, most will tell you they don’t even bother reading it. And of course, if they did read it and had a great job that didn’t exactly meet your description, they could disregard you as a candidate. In this case, an objective statement is more likely to close doors than open them.
Skills Listing This portion is often a bulleted list of about 6 to 10 different soft skills where a candidate feels he/she stands out. Here you might see things like: team-building, problem-solving, decision making, communications, etc. One reason this section has crept into resumes over the years is as a way to defeat Applicant Tracking Software that employers use to scan resumes for key words. Our biggest issue with listing your soft skills is that your assessment is rather subjective. Most people (if they are smart) are just going to list words that they think the employer wants to see. Sorry to say, but recruiters and hiring managers are smarter than that. In other words, they know the games people play. If you really want to make it known that you are a good team builder, then include some achievement bullets that will highlight the times in which you have used those skills. In other words, provide the cold hard facts. Note, that I mentioned soft skills. When it comes to hard skills such as IT proficiency, six sigma, project management certifications, etc., such skills are definitely worth noting.
References furnished upon request This phrase is often included as the last line of a resume. It’s like saying “Hey employer, I’ve got people that will tell you how great I am, but you are going to have to ask me who they are before I reveal them.” Need I say more? It’s safe to assume that any hiring manager that wants to see your references will ask you for them whether you have that statement or not.