You owe it to yourself to have a resume that sells you and doesn't sell you short. [TWEET]

Almost every job search includes a resume submission at one time or another. This is your primary marketing tool and usually the first impression a company has of you. It is critical to make this first impression a good one. Here are some ways your resume could be selling you short.

1. It lists responsibilities instead of describing impact.

This is probably the number one way in which professionals let their resumes let them down. Do not fall into the trap of writing 'Responsibilities included…' and listing a bunch of tasks you performed in your position. All of these tasks had a purpose, and that is the impact you had. Instead of writing that you processed new hire paperwork, maintained personnel files and administered benefits, write that you ensured both legal compliance and employee engagement by creating a best in class orientation program.

2. Your achievements aren't quantified.

A number is worth a thousand words, and in the two scant pages you have to describe your entire career, the more specific you can get, the better.  Rather than say you “improved sales,” be more specific. Stating that you “increased revenue by 35% year after year and impacted profitability by 10%” will surely get the hiring manager's attention!

3. It doesn't mention your intangible skills.

As important as quantifiable skills are, your intangible skills are uniquely yours and will make you stand out from the crowd. Are you an outstanding team-builder? Do people ask to transfer to your team? Did you have the lowest turnover of any department? Your soft skills are critical selling points,  so let them shine!

4. The format is unclear and unprofessional.

A poorly formatted resume that contains typos is not a good reflection of you, regardless of your position. Take the time and spend the money, if necessary, to invest in a professional resume. It should look clean and crisp, take no more than two pages, contain a strong career statement and utilize professional formatting to make a bold statement about your candidacy.

5. The information is outdated.

A resume that does not reflect your most recent job will be a major red flag to most employers. Letting them know that you have not had time to update your resume will probably not save the situation. Make sure to submit the most current version of your resume, in the most contemporary format. This means doing your homework to understand what it should look like (or investing in a professional resume writer).

Your resume has the power to open doors or keep you from landing interviews. Carefully evaluate your resume -- or ask for help -- to ensure your resume is all it can and should be.

Need help with your resume? Our TopResume writers can help!

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