There are plenty of occasions where it is perfectly fine to be a little scary. Halloween, scary movies, and when your friend has the hiccups... all great opportunities.
However, you never want to be scary in your job search. With the job market as tough as it is right now, scaring away a valuable networking contact or employer is something you simply don't want to do.
Unfortunately, there are a number of opportunities that might make you appear more scary than qualified. Your resume is a big one. Check out these 10 ways your resume can scare away employers (so you can avoid them at all costs)!
1. Make a ton of typos
Nothing says "I'm unprofessional" more than a resume riddled with spelling and punctuation errors. Even if you wrote your resume carefully, you'd benefit from proofreading or having a friend proofread. Glaring typos are especially harmful for folks looking for a position in a writing-intense profession like journalism, public relations, or administrative work.
2. Go generic
The job search is a lot like dating. You want to "woo" the employer, make them feel special. While generic resumes are awfully convenient, they tell the employer you're not that invested in the position.
3. Be demanding at the start
Use your objective statement to spell out all of your expectations for the job. Mention pay requirements, benefits, and responsibilities to scare all employers away. Employers want to know what you can offer them, not what you want if you get the job.
4. Write lengthy paragraphs
Employers spend somewhere between thirty seconds to a minute scanning your resume. Bullet points and keywords are easier to read than the block-o-text some resumes sport. Nobody wants to read a novel, so keep it short!
5. Go for two, three, or four pages
As I wrote in the tip above, employers don't have a whole lot of time to read your resume. When it goes onto multiple pages, they're even less likely to read what you have to say because (a) they're not going to find all the info they need immediately and (b) they might lose multiple pages.
6. Pick a wacky, illegible font
If you Google "resume fonts", you will find a lot of debate about whether Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, or some other font is best. Whatever you choose, just pick something that is easy to read (Comic Sans need not apply) and popular on both Mac and PC.
7. Send it as a Microsoft Works file
...or a .txt, or some other equally offbeat format. If an employer can't open the file you send, they aren't going to read it. They probably won't even tell you that they can't open it either. After all, how many other resumes do they have in their inbox right now? Your best bet is .pdf or .doc.
8. Include a lot of useless details
Understand that an employer wants to know what you can do and if you're a good fit for their company. They don't want to read about your blood type, your favorite color, or your freshman year class schedule. Save extraneous details for your Facebook page.
Check out: RezScore's 4 Favorite Resume Hacks
9. Send it for a job you aren't qualified for
Nothing is scarier than an inbox full of applicants who aren't qualified for the position. If you almost meet the requirements, it's up to you. However, if you aren't qualified, then you're just wasting you and the employer's time.
10. Pair it with a scary cover letter
Last, but not least, pairing an OK resume with a scary cover letter is just as bad as having a scary resume in the first place. Your cover letter should serve as an introduction to you and be persuasive enough to get an employer to read your resume.
What do you think? What other spooky tips do you have for job seekers looking to scare employers away with a resume? How can that be avoided? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Sean Weinberg is the COO and co-founder of RezScore, a free Web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes - instantly. Also the founder of Freedom Resumes, Weinberg has dedicated his career to helping job seekers write the best possible resumes. You can connect with Sean and the RezScore team on Facebook and Twitter.
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