Don't Get into a Resume “JAM”


We invited 15 of the top career and job-search experts — our Quintessential Careers Career Masterminds — to share their advice with our readers as part of Quint Careers’s 15th anniversary. We asked them (among six other questions): What are the most common strategic mistakes you see on job-seeker resumes? (See all their responses here.) We’re running a series of responses; here’s one of them: I’ll offer three common mistakes, which spell J.A.M.:

J = Jack of all trades: A strategic mistake many job-seekers make is trying to be all things to all people. Instead, create a separate resume for each and every position you apply for. You need to look like you are a perfect fit, and if your resume doesn’t confirm that, you can be sure that your competitor who does will get the interview.
A = Accomplishments: Most job-seekers know they should include accomplishments in their resumes. But, all too often, when I give feedback to job-seekers about their resumes and mention they need more numbers-driven accomplishments in their resumes, they inevitably say: “I know, but…” and that “but” is usually followed with something like “the position didn’t really lend itself to accomplishments” or “I didn’t have any impact on the bottom line” … which relates to the third item:
M = Money: Forgetting to answer the employer’s silent question: can you help us make money? I can guarantee you, if you can’t help impact the bottom line, your job security will be in jeopardy. Figure out a way to tie it to the bottom line: how did you save money, solve problems, save customers from jumping ship, and so on.

Ignore these J.A.M. mistakes, and you’ll be in a “jam”! Address them, and you’ll “preserve” your job and your future career success!
      — Susan Whitcomb