I am an HR practitioner. Sounds like an introduction in a self-help group. But I work every day with people, and stuff, and resumes, and questions. The resume thing, it's a tricky, sticky wicket.
I am not a professional resume writer. And I am usually pretty tolerant of styles and formats given that there are no ISO standards for resumes. I give applicants the benefit - and latitude - when reviewing them but I have to say, there are some immediate turnoffs.
Let me share.
1. Odd, peculiar fonts. Differing sizes. Hard to read stuff. Keep it clean.
2. An AOL email. Unless of course, you work for AOL. Come on, it's 2012. Get a GMail account. It looks like you might still be using "keyword searches" on the internets.
3. The declaration that, "I am a perfect fit." Don't say that. If I don't know, you don't know. It's my job to figure out the right fit. Don't tell me how to do my job.
4. Closing with, "I will follow up." If you write that, you better follow up. Don't write that because I don't have time to answer your inquiry. So take that out. But if you decide to keep it in, and you DON'T follow up, that's not good. I keep track.
5. Don't include a cover letter from another job. And while on the topic, if you have a resume done professionally, make sure -REALLY MAKE SURE- that your cover letter is written as well as your resume. Can't even begin to count the number of well done resumes with some of the worst cover letters in the history of time. It makes you stand out. And not in a good way.
6. Typos. You just can't have them. You have to spell names correctly. You have to check word for word. Had an applicant forget the L in public. It made us laugh.
7. Despite receiving well-intentioned advice from so-called experts, DO NOT include pictures of you, your family, your mother, or your dog on the resume. DO NOT. Really. It isn't relevant and it looks awful. I am embarrassed for you if you do this. It speaks to your filter.
8. Don't include your spouse's name, your kids' names and ages, and your age. I do not want to know how old you are. I want to know if you can do the job.
9. Tell the Truth with a capital T. Don't lie on your resume. Can you believe that I have to write this?
10. My biggest pet peeve? DEAR SIRS. News flash. Women hire too. Lots of women. I have never, for the record, seen a woman write DEAR SIRS. So there.
Keep on keeping on.