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Article: Common Resume Mistakes Related Resources

Common Resume Mistakes Can Hurt
Your Chance Of Landing That Dream Job

After receiving their bonuses from last year, many employees are now getting down to polishing and updating their resumes, and seeking new career opportunities before the summer sets in. Job-seekers, however, often make several common mistakes that can hurt their chances of landing that dream job, according to Salveson Stetson Group, a full-service retained executive search firm.

"Both the content and layout of a resume is the means by which each candidate is initially judged," said Sally Stetson, co-founder and principal with Salveson Stetson Group ( "Potential employees should be careful to avoid common mistakes that can dismiss them from the pool of viable candidates."

According to Salveson Stetson Group, common resume mistakes include:

-- Writing a functional resume: "Candidates put themselves at a disadvantage if they draft a resume that is not in reverse chronological order," said John Salveson, co-founder and principal with the 10-year-old executive search firm. "Functional resumes, which generally solely highlight skills on the first page, make it difficult to determine when you worked where, and are sometimes used to hide gaps in one's employment history."

-- Emphasizing job duties over significant accomplishments: "In addition to listing places of employment, duration, and job duties, candidates must include their major achievements with each employer," said Stetson. "Potential employers want to know the value you brought to your companies. Where applicable, use quantifiable figures - dollars or percentages - such as increases in sales and profits for which you were responsible, decreases in costs and turnover, new clients landed, etc."

-- Not listing dates of employment: "Leaving dates off your employment history is a red flag," said Stetson. "Applicants should clarify whether or not they were out of work for an extended period of time, and not simply try to ignore any gaps. Often, the reasons are entirely legitimate, such as caring for children or a sick family member."

-- Wrong delivery method/resume format: "When applying for a position, follow the employer's instructions on delivery method (e-mail, applying through the company website, etc.)," said Salveson. "The default format on e-mailed resumes is a Microsoft Word attachment - not as a PDF or embedded in the e-mail. A non-compatible document will give a potential employer a reason to disregard your resume."

-- Excluding descriptions of past employers. "Candidates should provide brief descriptions of their past employers, including full company names, industries, sizes, and locations," said Stetson. "This is particularly important if you have worked with companies that aren't brand names and will give a potential employer enough information to search for them on the Internet, and provide a context for how well you fit their profile."

-- Including irrelevant information: "Do not include extraneous or unnecessary personal information such as age, marital status, religious affiliation, high school GPA, or a photograph," said Salveson. "Also exclude professional or outside affiliations that may be controversial. Candidates should mainly focus on successes and credentials that qualify them for the job."

-- Going into too much detail: "Highlight only major accomplishments and job duties, focusing the most attention on your recent positions," said Stetson. "Potential employers don't need a detailed description of your fist job out of college when you are applying for a senior role. Consolidate your employment history into a succinct resume that highlights your strengths."

About Salveson Stetson Group

Salveson Stetson Group ( is a full-service retained executive search firm founded in 1996. Specializing in $150,000+ salaried positions, Salveson Stetson Group places executives at organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to non-profit entities. The company is based in suburban Philadelphia.


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