Q. What is the most common résumé mistake?

A. You can’t call it a mistake because countless books and articles tell us to do it, but the most unfortunate thing people do when writing their résumé or updating their LinkedIn profile is to brand themselves as more junior AND less interesting than they are

For instance, folks list their skills or the tasks they know how to perform instead of explaining about how they used the skills or performed the tasks in a way that had a positive impact.

Here’s an example of the standard approach:

Experienced administrative assistant with MS office experience, excellent communication skills, comfortable with calendar apps, scheduling conference rooms, making travel arrangements

This is unfortunate branding because this job seeker sounds like almost anyone. They sound boring, although they are not a boring person. Their power is not coming through. 

Let’s try it again:

I am an Administrative pro who thrives on keeping a busy office humming and an overstressed CEO in the groove. At Acme Explosives, I supported our CEO and our team through four years of growth and our merger with Toon Town Industries. Now I’m in search of my next adventure

Now a person comes through. The words come with a specific voice. Your voice may be very different from this example – the important thing is that it’s you, and most importantly you in your power


Q. OK, I get it. Based on this, my résumé is a mess. Can you help?

A. Here is the link to our Career Coaching Questionnaire!