Liz Ryan, chief executive officer and founder, Human Workplace
Don’t underestimate the power of a CV to hurt your career when you least expect it, wrote Ryan in her post, Five Deadliest Resume Mistakes (And How to Fix Them). What might you be doing wrong?
Among the things Ryan wrote that would-be job seekers should beware of in their CV.
“The worst brand in the world is the brand ‘I can do anything!’ No one will believe you,” Ryan wrote. “Even if you can do everything, you've got to choose something that you especially love to do, otherwise you come across as someone who doesn't know him or herself well enough or have the confidence to plot your own course.”
“Always start with a summary at the top, just under your contact section. Don't show hiring managers a list of past jobs and expect them to determine what you intend to do next,” wrote Ryan. Be mindful about giving too many details. “No one cares about your tasks and duties. That's just telling us what anybody in the job would have done,” wrote Ryan. “The more senior you are, the less detail you need to include.”
It’s also crucial to not use boring language, Ryan wrote. “Using phrases like ‘Results-oriented professional with a bottom-line orientation’…was a wonderful way to write a resume in 1982 or even 1997, but not today.”
Alex Malley, chief executive officer at CPA Australia
Is it possible that people have “lost the art of creative (but honest) writing,” in their CVs and cover letters, queried Malley in his post Stop Sending Out Boring Resumes. From what he has seen, the answer is yes. How can you differentiate yourself from the “chronological accounts of a professional existence”?
“A resume… is a story of personality, performance, persistence and persuasion,” he wrote. “It requires the use of simple language, short sentences and evidence by brief example of outcomes achieved.”
One way to make certain you achieve that, Malley wrote, is to avoid confining yourself to a resume template. “More and more, I see similarly structured resumes for more senior roles. Anyone with a substantive career behind them should not accept the confines of a template” if they want to show how their success came from what they brought individually to a career.
How can you put that into practice? Pretend you’re writing to a publisher to persuade them to commission your life story into a book,” wrote Malley “Learn how to represent your whole life in as interesting form as you can. This has to be personal, compelling, illustrative and emotive.”
To test your improved presentation, “Select five people… and ask each one to read your story. Observe their body language and reactions. This is likely the first time you are able to see the response someone has to your story,” Malley wrote. From that feedback, you can begin to craft an interesting — and stand-out CV and cover letter.
Do you have a unique way of writing resumes that has helped you stand out? What advice do you have to offer? To comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Capital, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.