If you are looking for a job or to advance in your career your resume represents you. That means, it is your one chance to get your foot in the door. So when it’s filled with errors or difficult to read, you can bet the person reviewing it will quickly toss it out.
Although it often feels like you are overlooked for job opportunities, in many situations the truth may be that you haven’t yet learned how to write a killer resume. By avoiding some common mistakes and writing an error-free resume, you give a potential employer no excuse for turning you away when your qualifications meet or exceed their requirements.
Having spoken with a large amount of hiring managers and from looking at a significant number of resumes myself, I’ve seen many mistakes that could immediately eliminate you from the applicant pool. Fortunately, many of these mistakes are easily remedied.
Common Resume Blunders:
- Spelling and Grammatical Errors—Whether you are applying for an administrative job or a high paying executive position, employers want to know that you take the time to hand over quality work. Think of your resume as your very first work product. Your computer’s spell-check function won’t always catch improper word usage (to, too, two) or capitalization mistakes. Read through the resume from beginning to end several times to ensure you catch these little errors that can make a big difference in whether or not you hear back from a company.
- Putting Oldest Job First—Never put your oldest job at the top of your employment history. Employers want to see your most recent or present job first. Remember, the resume is supposed to impress them, and your most recent job likely required a higher skill level and more experience than your first. This is also meant to make it easier to find your most recent experience at a glance.
- Task Listing Rather Than Achievement Listing—Sure, your new boss will want to know that you managed inventory, but they also want to know that you were able to reduce the inventory by 5% by improving certain processes. Anytime you can list an achievement rather than a task that you performed—do it. Keep in mind that you are trying to sell the value add that you bring to the table. Anyone can be in charge of customer service, but only you can increase customer retention (by 25% every year for the past 4 years in a row).
- Highlighting The Wrong Experiences—Getting college credits is a good way to further show you value education and are interested in expanding your knowledge and your potential for career advancement; but highlighting that you received credits at a junior college and didn’t quite get that associate’s degree you were after, however, might not be a wise choice for your resume. In this case, you may be better off listing classes you completed that are specifically related to the job for which you are applying. No reason to highlight where you went or how many total credits you earned, unless you received a degree.
Focus on the important stuff: those things you completed, pertinent experience, and skills that have a direct bearing on the job you are seeking. Missing Information—It’s crucial that you always keep your resume updated. If you’re promoted, add that as soon as possible. Change your address on the header if you move and always keep your best references handy. You never know when the next opportunity will arise and you want to be prepared. For additional tips on keeping your resume up to date with all of the pertinent information, check out this post from ResumeEdge.
- Cramming It All On One Page—You may have been able to fit all of your experience on a single page back when you were fresh out of college, but as you advance in your career and your life, your experience will expand so it is okay to add an additional page to your resume. Don’t try to fit all of your information in a single page, as your resume will end up looking uninviting to the reader.
Perhaps the final tip in creating a solid resume is: Have at least one other person read over your resume. Choose someone whose professionalism and career you respect, someone who would likely know some things about great resume writing. Reviewing a resume takes very little time and can be done over coffee. Remember, this resume is your first impression; make it impeccable.