5 Resume Mistakes That Scream 'Narcissist'

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By J.T. O'Donnell

Most people hate writing their resumes. The idea of having to sell yourself with a piece of paper can feel really intimidating. Between the formatting and the content, creating the perfect resume can feel overwhelming and frustrating. Even worse, as you send out the resume and receive no responses back, you start to doubt your design. Next thing you know, you're making tweaks and changes, obsessing over why the resume isn't making your phone ring.

Resume trends have changed dramatically in the past few years. Recruiters have high expectations. They're also time-crunched. They need resumes they can quickly skim to determine if you're a fit. Did you know that studies show recruiters spend an average of only six seconds on your resume to determine if you're a fit? Which means that first impressions matter.

Unfortunately, many job seekers aren't getting a second opinion on their resumes, ultimately creating one that mistakenly screams, "I'm a narcissist!" to recruiters. I spoke with TopResume's job search expert, Amanda Augustine to get her take on how job seekers are going wrong. Here are five things she says you should never do on your resume:

1. Leading with a "me, me, me" objective statement.

Recruiters don't care about your career objectives. They have a job to fill and you are just a potential service provider. Augustine explains, "When the first thing a recruiter sees on your resume is what you want from them, they're turned off." Ditch the wordy, self-important objective statement and free up that valuable real estate on your resume for proven accomplishments instead.

2. Overselling yourself with subjective text.

When you use words like "creative," "innovative," and "exceptional," you're sharing opinions of yourself. The recruiter sees it as his or her job to determine if you are those things. When you say it about yourself, you sound cocky. Augustine says a good test is to ask yourself if you'd say these things when speaking face to face with a recruiter. "Hi, I'm fantastic Amanda!" would sound pretty silly. Tone down the language and stick to the facts instead.

3. Adding a picture.

While a photo is normal to add to a social media profile, it's not acceptable on a resume. Augustine says recruiters don't want to be distracted by the photo. Plus, you could be setting yourself up for discrimination. Let your accomplishments speak for you, not your looks.

4. Getting too personal.

Recruiters don't want to know about your wide-variety of extracurricular activities. Augustine says, "It's a resume, not a dating profile." Recalling that recruiters spend only six seconds skimming your resume, it's better to leave off anything that isn't truly relevant to your professional experience.

5. Showcasing quotes and references.

Testimonials are for book covers, not resumes. First, recruiters have no way to prove if they're real. Second, they take up valuable space on the resume. Augustine says featuring references from co-workers and managers screams, "I'm trying too hard to impress you." If the recruiter wants them, he or she will ask for them.

If you're guilty of any of the above, you may want to rework that resume. Also, consider seeking out some tools to help you evaluate objectively what else might be missing the mark with recruiters. Think of yourself as a business-of-one and the resume as the brochure. The messaging needs to resonate with your intended audience, or you'll be dismissed.
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