5 Common Resume Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
A good resume is key to landing the job you really want. With the right formatting, use of language, and balance between your work history and your professional achievements, you can even compensate for a lack of experience and gain the attention of employers who you may have thought were just out of your reach. Typically, we talk about tips and tricks to help make your resume more effective, but today we are going to highlight some of the common mistakes job seekers make with their resumes. Let’s get started.
It’s Too Long
Yes friends, this is a thing. You might think that including your entire work history, background, and education in stunning detail over the course of several pages would captivate and impress prospective employers, but on the contrary – most employers have so many resumes to consider that they won’t put the time in to read much more than one page.
Try to keep your resume contained within one page. Include only your very best professional achievements, and make sure that they are relevant to the job you are applying for. There will be more opportunities to provide further detail into your work history during your interview. The goal is to get the attention of the hiring manager as quickly as possible, which leads us to our next commonly made mistake.
It Doesn’t Have a Summary Statement
Arguably the most important part of your resume, this is the first bit of information a hiring manager will learn about you. If you don’t have a summary statement, a hiring manager is far less likely to read the rest of your resume. Similarly, an ineffective summary statement can be off-putting and will garner similar results.
Do your best to avoid statements such as “I’m a motivated individual,” and instead describe what motivates you. Employers will pay more attention to a resume with a summary statement that stands out amongst the rest. Spend as much time as is necessary on your summary statement, avoid clichés, and let your unique personality shine through.
It Contains Fictions and Half Truths
Tempting as it may be, embellishing or exaggerating the truth can come back to haunt you. Let’s say your resume says you’re an expert with Microsoft Excel, while in reality you’ve barely used the program. If your boss hired you for the sole reason to head up a project that heavily involves the use of Excel, you’re going to find yourself in a tough spot.
What you can do is use strong describing words and language to make your achievements sound more exciting, or “bigger” than they are. Flat out lying on your resume is ill-advised and will almost certainly lead to trouble in the future, with the worst-case scenario being your untimely termination from your job. Tell the truth, but make it exciting. Your skillset and experience will only grow in time, so there’s no reason to be dishonest.
It’s Too Generic
When you’ve crafted your resume to perfection, it doesn’t necessarily mean the work is done. While on your job search, you should try to make small adjustments on your resume to help make your skills and experience relevant to the job you are applying for. Try to imagine it this way – each job you apply to requires its own specific resume.
Your first draft can be your template from which you craft each additional resume. For example, maybe “Resume B” showcases a different set of skills than “Resume A,” or the skills are listed in a different order to highlight the most relevant ones first. This will show employers that you’ve done your research and that you’ve taken the time to feature a set of skills that is specific to the job the company is hiring for. That little extra bit of effort can go a long way, and it pays to be thorough and thoughtful.
It’s Got Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
This one may seem obvious, and it is…but uh, that’s not the point, exactly. Whenever you’re busy drafting a document on your own, it can be difficult to detect spelling and grammar errors. It can help to have a second set of eyes, so if possible have a friend or a family member go over your resume with you. It would be particularly helpful if you know someone in the same field as you, and who has strong writing skills.
Also, try not to rely too heavily on computer or software-based spelling and grammar checks. There are instances where they might not always be “right,” and overusing such technology can make your resume seem stiff and generic. Make the effort to go through your resume several times to ensure there are no silly mistakes; you’d be surprised how easy it can be to miss them.
It’s important to put the time in when crafting an effective resume. Hastily throwing something together and blindly applying to jobs may get you results, but it’s far less likely that you’ll be capturing the attention of the hiring manager at your dream job. Moreover, this will lead to making mistakes that are more often than not easily avoidable, greatly hindering your progress on the path to success.