I was asked to find a client services associate (admin position) for my wife’s small business. This isn't the first recruitment I've done so I typically review all submitted documents through Indeed.com. To gain a more complete picture of a job seeker’s recent job history, I also leverage LinkedIn. Because we’re dealing with a small office, my task is unlike a large corporation that may use hardware and software technology that may include keyword searches to screen through resumes. It's a two-edged sword with my process, there are interesting moments during the resume review task where you might learn quite a bit about the applicant's personal and work history. If it's written well, it might tell a compelling story. On the other hand, over the years of review, I've seen some of the same mistakes candidates make where I waver between annoyance and irritation.
Including Too Many Jobs
If you’ve had a very busy last 10 years where you’ve had 9 different jobs, you shouldn’t list all 9 jobs – it’s a big red flag for employers. I know you want to show a complete work history for the last 10 years, but you need to be much more discreet about over-showing your hand. I know this may be challenging to create but it's one of the first tasks needed in the job search process. Indeed, it’s a fine and careful dance that needs to be done to project yourself as a viable candidate instead of too much material that typically gets you in the “reject” pile.
One tip: Customize your resume and an online profile that aligns better with the position sought after.
Don’t Say “Attention to Detail” Where Your Resume Contains Misspelled Words, Lack of Punctuation, or Inconsistent Capitalization
This is the candidate's first shot of having one’s resume and online job history tell a story to a part-time recruiter from a small office. Indeed, this is the chance for a candidate to shine in front of an employer. For any relationship to continue, both parties have to be happy with the relationship.
Anyway, a quick fail is saying you’re detail-oriented and then misspelling several words and having punctuation errors on your resume. Or, not capitalizing proper nouns. It's funny when you see it, the irony may be lost on the candidate but I certainly didn’t miss it.
One tip: Have a friend or colleague review your resume and LinkedIn profile for accuracy and consistency.
Pressed For Time?
For those job seekers, they may work full-time or are a student full-time or otherwise have busy schedules, so I get it, many are pressed for time. If the employer uses Indeed.com, then you can compare that to LinkedIn.com to help tell the story of the job seeker. Regardless of the time, you need to ensure the job you applying for is evident in your LinkedIn and Indeed profiles. If not, many recruiters will deny the candidate with that inconsistency.
A wise old colleague once told me “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how will you ever have time to fix it later?” In other words, don’t rush through something just to get it done if it’s not being done correctly. Take your time with your resume. Ensure it tells the story you want to be told while not telling too much. Ideally, you want your resume to align with your LinkedIn profile. The two don’t have to be identical but there needs to be some consistency with the type of position sought after.
One tip: Perhaps if you have varied job experience, then perhaps it would be worthwhile to create several resumes. One resume could be customized for office assistants, another for legal work, and another for the medical industry. Sure it’s a lot of work but once you’re done, while looking for work, this may improve your chances of getting an interview.
Too Many Bullet Points
This is a personal preference sort of thing but generally, three or four bullet points are the most a candidate should use per job. (And speaking of jobs, you may want to include those top 3 or 4 jobs to disclose.) I've seen more than one or two resumes recently that include 8 or 9 bullet points per job. That's just crazy. Pick your best three and roll with it. If you use 3, you’ll never be accused of using too many bullet points. Again, you’re just trying to capture the employer’s interest for further discussion. I recently saw a resume that was 3 pages long and listed 9 different positions with the same amount of bullet points per position. That particular resume contained roughly 81 bullet points -- way, way too many.
One tip: If you want to combine 8 into 3 longer bullet points, that may work too.
Take Quick Job-Related Courses On Indeed.com During The Job Search
Working with Indeed.com, candidates can take different skills courses at any time. These courses may include customer service, administrative tasks, computer skills, etc. When these courses are taken, a test taker may end up in certain skill-level categories: Completed, Familiar, Proficient, Highly Proficient, and Expert. If you’re looking for a job in customer service in 2022, but your last customer service quizzes were taken in 2018, some employers may wonder why you haven’t taken a customer service course on Indeed for over 4 years. In today’s market, some recruiters may have an issue here.
One tip: A win-win is to take the course again to brush up on your knowledge but it also shows you're committed to continuous improvement.
On Indeed.com and on the prospect's resume, it shows the position of administrative assistant but on their LinkedIn page, it states 'child care expert.' Just a reminder, if you are applying for a client services associate position, customize accordingly. Regardless of the current strong labor market, this is an epitome of unforced errors by the prospect. It's careless, lacks attention to detail, and doesn't project a very forward-thinking individual. In this instance, the prospect will not have the opportunity to tell a consistent and compelling reason why they are highly qualified candidates.
One applicant for the administrative position listed these past jobs: daycare assistant, caregiver, babysitting job, and residential care coordinator. Did she make a mistake in the submittal process? I remark at how wide a chasm between their work history and an administrative assistant position in financial services. Don’t do what this Sheila did.
Lacking a Professional Summary
You include your contact information and job history but you don’t spell out your professional summary. What are your skills? What are you good at? Things you’ve accomplished in short phrases. If you don’t include this information, you leave it up to the interviewer to try to figure out your skillset. Don’t leave anything to chance, it is better to be upfront with how you can be a strong asset to the company. In other words, sell yourself just enough on the resume, especially on the top part.