We all know about the more common pet peeves recruiters have with resumes — poor grammar, misspellings — but here are a couple more that you may not have thought of. These came from a survey of technical recruiters and hiring managers on about.com.
- Writing the resume or cover letter in the third person. I have actually never even thought anyone would do this, but apparently it's common enough to become a pet peeve. And it's also kind of creepy.
- Using tiny fonts. A lot of people just can't stand the thought of a one- or two-page resume, which is the recommended length, so they employ a microscopic font so they can still mention every technology they've ever laid a hand on. If a recruiter has to employ a magnifying glass to read your resume, you're already losing points.
- Listing references but not professional ones. We know your brother-in-law thinks the world of you, but unless he's Bill Gates, it really doesn't carry a lot of weight for a recruiter.
- Attaching a resume with an obscure, significant-only-to-you name. Naming your resume named with the current date is not smart. Give it your name.
- Writing the resume using table formats (columns). Think in terms of what will be most accessible to the recruiter.
- Making the resume too long. Okay, this one isn't new to readers of this blog, but I thought I'd mention that it came up in the survey just to reinforce my advice. I can't say it any clearer—a recruiter only needs to see the skills you have that fit the job. He or she is not interested in the evolution of your technical development. You can mention that in the interview.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.