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Resume Tips

Common Resume Mistakes – Results from the Palladian International 2008 Resume Benchmarking Survey


For an active job seeker, their resume is one of the most important tools at their disposal. Long before the first interview, a job seeker needs to present their background, experience and potential in a one to two page document, and make that document count. Without a good resume, nothing happens. After conducting an extensive study of resumes currently in use by job seekers, Palladian identified the following trends:

  • Format: One third of resumes utilize the wrong structure – either a chronological when a functional would do better or vice versa. The choice of structure can make a significant impact on the effectiveness of a resume.
  • Generic Objectives: Almost half of the objective statements did not provide any information on the job or industry that the job seeker was pursuing. Generic objective statements, such as the common “I want to utilize my skills and abilities to the benefit of my employer” serve no purpose and are, at best, a waste of space.
  • Accomplishments: 27% of job seekers provided no accomplishments and only 40% of job seekers provided three or more accomplishments for each job held. Most job seekers emphasized their responsibilities. Although responsibilities are important on a resume, they must be backed up by accomplishments. The average resume contained 2.5 accomplishments per position and 3.2 responsibilities per position.
  • Personal Information: When personal information, such as hobbies, interests and family status was provided, it very rarely related to the job seeker’s career.
  • Grammar and Spelling: Very few resumes have a mistake. Less than 8% of the resumes surveyed contained a single spelling or grammatical error and less than 3% contained multiple errors.
  • Continuing Education: 77% of resumes included a list of continuing education activities that the job seeker had completed within the education section of their resume.
  • Employment Dates: Only half of the resumes provided both months and years for the start and end date of each position listed, leaving the other half of resumes missing key data most hiring managers want.

The 2008 Resume Benchmarking Survey is available for download on Palladian International’s Career Resources website at www.palladiancr.com/survey.html. The 2008 Resume Benchmarking Survey evaluated resumes from active job seekers within three categories: Manufacturing Executives with more than 10 years of experience, Sales & Marketing Managers with more than 10 years of experience and recent college graduates entering the workforce.


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