Common Resume Mistakes

Your Résumé Thrown Away in the Garbage

Do you want the job? I mean, really want the job? Well your first step is to avoid submitting a seriously flawed resume. You may be asking yourself, “How do I know if it’s flawed?” Aside from typos and grammatical errors, or speaking in third person (trust me, we’ve seen some doozies), make sure to avoid sending a standard “one size fits all” resume. It is a sure fire way to get ignored and overlooked. While these are fairly obvious issues, here are a few more easily correctable offenses that you may be committing.

You Forgot a Cover Letter 

The Cover Letter is the best way to introduce yourself, your skillset, and why you are perfect for the position. Nothing can replace a well-written cover letter and often times, this can be more important and impressive than your resume itself. It gives the employer a peek into your personality. Make sure it’s tailored to the position at hand, employers can tell if you’ve put time and effort into drafting your cover letter. Show your passion for the position. This is the time to really sell yourself.

You Have an Unprofessional Email Address

There is nothing more off-putting than looking at a resume and seeing as the reply email. Immediate failure. It screams “Don’t take me or my career seriously!” At this age, there is absolutely no reason not to have a work appropriate email address.  None.

You Neglected to Add a URL

Unless explicitly asked, there’s no need to attach a headshot. Instead, send a link to your LinkedIn account, or any other professional online profiles. To be completely honest, employers will be looking for your social media accounts no matter what. Career expert, Amanda Augustine, found that 92% of recruiters admit to reviewing candidates’ online profiles.

It’s Not Accomplishments-Driven

While it’s easy to slip into autopilot and start listing off job duties, your resume should consist of high-impact accomplishments statements. Let them know you’re perfect for this role, you are qualified for this position, and you deserve an interview.  Highlight your accomplishments. Concisely explain how you performed better than anyone else in your previous jobs, how and why you got/deserved your promotions, how you overcame obstacles, and how your company benefitted from your performance. Document the value in you. Your entire resume should be accomplishment-driven.

It’s Too Cookie-Cutter 

Employers are looking at bland, cookie-cutter resumes all day long. Microsoft Word templates are the easiest to spot, and the most overused templates out there. Now there is nothing wrong with this, Microsoft templates are tried and true, and we have all been hired at least once thanks to them. However, you have to admit that it lacks that “stand out” quality.

Now I’m not saying to make it cluttered and colorful, overcomplicating your resume is a serious offense as well. But liven it up through the use of buzzwords like “accomplished” “managed” or “developed”, include metrics, or write a hard-hitting header at the very top of your resume that really defines who you are. Stick with basic fonts such as Arial, Tahoma, or Calibri, and steer away from using too many design details. The overall goal is to stand out from the crowd without giving the reader a headache.

It’s Inconsistent

Employers want resume scanning to be smooth, simple, and visually pleasing. They want to recognize job goals, see your qualifications, and do so in a way that is fluid. For example if you write “April 2011-May 2013” on your resume once, continue to write your job history dates in this manner all the way down the page. It’s also easiest for the reader if you list your jobs in order of most current to least current. They shouldn’t have to search for your most recent info.

Additionally, if you are sending your resume via email, make sure to send it to yourself first to make sure the formatting doesn’t change during delivery. Send test emails to friends to see if page numbers, fonts, or borders have gone askew during sending. It is crucial to ensure that the formatting appears consistent from computer to computer.

Your resume is your foot in the door. This is what gets you a callback and a chance to really wow them in person. You are an intelligent, hard-working individual – represent yourself well. This is the first glimpse an employer will have of you, make sure you put your best foot forward. Remember, you never get a second chance, to make a first impression.