5 signs that your résumé is boring

This article was originally written by STEPHANIE VOZZA and published on Fast Company.

Lackluster résumés can lead to fewer interview opportunities. Here’s how to avoid this problem.

Résumés are fairly cut-and-dry documents. Following the traditional template helps you convey your background and essential skills in a way that’s easily grasped by a hiring manager. But coloring inside the lines too closely could result in a résumé that’s a yawner. “I read résumés and cover letters daily, and there are usually a couple handfuls of those that are unique and different and pull me in, making me want to interview this person,” says Cheryl Hyatt, cofounder of Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search. “It’s important to provide enough material for the reader to say, ‘I really like what I’m reading.’” While what makes a résumé interesting may be subjective, here are five signs that your résumé is lackluster:


A résumé usually regurgitates the responsibilities you had in your position, but it shouldn’t be just a bunch of words. A vice president, for example, would list that they oversee a team, but that’s boring, says Hyatt. “What do you oversee? Who do you oversee? How many people do you oversee?” asks Hyatt. “You want to identify information within that résumé that has some data in it, as opposed to just strictly words.” Numbers help underscore accomplishments and demonstrate that you understand your role and your job. For example, “I increased productivity in my department by X percent.” Or, “Retention on my team was at 98% while I was in charge.”


Keeping things simple is most important when it comes to writing a résumé, and that means weeding out information that isn’t relevant, says Janet Sheffer, associate director of employer engagement at Arcadia University in Philadelphia. “In my previous role as a recruiter, something that would often turn me away from reviewing a résumé was if a candidate included irrelevant information about their work history,” she says. “To make their résumé stand out and feel enticing, a candidate must tailor their résumé to each job they’re applying for.”

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By Marissa Deitch
Marissa Deitch Executive Director