Avoiding The “Dry Turkey” Resume

April 30, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

It’s not exactly breaking any new ground by saying that having a good resume is key to success in the job search. What might not be so obvious is what actually makes a stellar resume.

In one of the numerous educational videos posted on our Career Learning Center, resume writing expert Michelle Riklan explains what it takes to craft a powerful resume. She starts out her presentation by warning job seekers to avoid what she terms the “dry turkey” resume. Anybody who has ever had dry turkey during a Thanksgiving dinner knows how bland it can be, and that is exactly how this type of resume reads to employers.

Riklan went over three aspects of the resume that, if done incorrectly, can lead to a dry turkey resume:

  • Header: Define who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. To Riklan, the beginnings of a dry turkey resume are when your header lists only your name, address, and contact information. She said that job seekers should include what your profession is, among other things, to give the employer a better idea of your skillsets from the beginning.
  • Professional Experience: Gaps in employment, passive language, and listing tasks rather than accomplishments are all things that should be avoided when listing your job history.
  • Sentence Structure: Read over the sentences in your resume and ask yourself: Does this make any sense? Grammar is obviously a concern but, according to Riklan, even more important is making sure that what you are writing is necessary. She said that every sentence in your resume should work towards the goal of explaining your worth to the organization.

You can see Riklan’s full 20-minute presentation by heading to our Career Learning Center.