15 Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
Looking for a new job? Your resume is a great place to share your skills and experience in a way that makes hiring managers sit up and take notice. Just be sure you steer clear of these resume mistakes to ensure yours leads to an interview and not the trash folder.
1. Typos and grammatical errors are the kiss of death. These types of mistakes make it seem that you’re unable to communicate clearly or you’re simply too lazy to care. Read and re-read your resume and have someone else look it over before you send it.
2. Not including specific information about your accomplishments. This is not the place to do a laundry list of your duties. You need to state the results of what you’ve done and how it impacted the company. Use numerical examples of savings, increased sales, guest occupancy rates, etc.
3. Using the same generic resume for every application. Again, your lack of effort screams “I’m not all that interested.” Invest some time in tailoring your presentation of skills and experience to each job opening.
4. Writing a “novel.” No one has time to read a 5-page resume. You don’t need to include every job you’ve ever had and all the activities in which you’ve participated. You should hit the highlights of those things that are relevant to this job; keep is concise and easy to read.
5. Making it too short. This is the opposite of #4 above. It’s a mistake to think that your experience, education and skills “speak for themselves” and don’t need any specific explanation. Help the hiring manager understand how you’ll fit into this job and what you can contribute.
6. Not using action verbs. It’s always better to use words that denote action instead of just listing your responsibilities. Use powerful action words like “implemented,” “developed,” “organized,” etc. instead of simply "did" or "was."
7. Using non-standard fonts. You may think your resume will rise to the top and stand out by making it “fancy,” but it just makes it harder to read. Most recruiters don’t have the time or interest to spend extra time when they could be scanning your resume for the key skills and experience they need.
8. Having a non-professional email address. The “fun” email address you made up in college is not going to work here. Get yourself a new one… it’s free.
9. Lying or padding your experience is a deal breaker. If you don’t meet all the requirements for the job, address it honestly. Concentrate on the skills you offer and how you can make a difference.
10. Offering personal information that’s not relevant. For instance, there is no reason to state your age, religion, marital status, social security number, ethnicity, etc. And do not send a picture. You’re just wasting valuable space and what you look like is not part of the job application.
11. Adding your hobbies. Unless it’s somehow related to the job, there’s no reason to add your interests and hobbies. Use that space to demonstrate your suitability for this position.
12. Listing your references. It’s not appropriate to list names/numbers for your references at this point. If you get the interview and they’re interested in hiring you, they will eventually request your references. You’ll also want to give those contacts a “heads up” that they may receive a call before you give out their names.
13. Listing your current work in your contact info. No one wants their current employer to know they’re looking for a new job. This just tells your prospective employer you don’t care about your job and you don’t care who knows it.
14. Using jargon specific to your current employer or popular buzzwords. Specific marketing campaigns, initiatives, software systems, etc. that you use in your current job is not something you want to put on your resume. Hiring managers are not going to spend time de-coding what you’re trying to say.
15. Using a format that isn’t compatible with major word processing applications. You want to be sure that your resume looks just like you planned. If it can’t be “translated” using automated scanning software, it’ll come out all jumbled and unreadable.
- You want your resume to be clear about what you bring to the table and which position you’re applying for.
- Be sure your resume is easy to read and scan quickly.
- Put the important stuff at the top so the hiring manager sees it first.
- Listen to your outgoing voicemail message and make sure it’s professional.
- Promote yourself confidently by demonstrating what you can do for the company in this role. What do you bring to the table?