While good old paper may seem passé in the digital age, LinkedIn hasn’t completely replaced the old-fashioned resume. They are the heartbeat of a career search. If done well, your resume will tell your story and sell you. The most egregious resume mistakes we see over and over again are explained below. We have even highlighted a couple of points on how you can avoid these missteps.
1. MAKING GRAMMATICAL ERRORS AND TYPOS
There’s no room for sloppiness. 58% of employers identified resumes with typos as one of the top mistakes that led them to automatically dismiss a candidate. In this day and age, there really is no excuse for a number of grammatical errors. Common errors we see include misuse of words (“your/you’re” and “lose/loose”), words spelled incorrectly (“business” and “finance”) and overuse of punctuation (namely, commas).
Do not solely rely on spell check, it’s helpful to get a second set of eyes on your résumé after you’ve reviewed it yourself. Reach out to a trusted mentor or colleague in a similar industry, or if you’re a student, use resources at your college career center or local library. ANOC offers a range of Premium CV Services too, be sure to review them before applying for jobs.
2. SUBMITTING INCORRECT INFORMATION
This may seem obvious but getting simple details wrong will get your resume tossed into the reject pile. When you put an incorrect phone number down or mess up your job titles or dates, it makes your resume look haphazard. Even if you make it to the interview stage, the incorrect information will come out eventually. A wrong phone number can easily be called and a job title can be verified with a former employer.
Sometimes job titles do not match the job duties listed, and the employer might find out upon further interviewing that the title was changed on the resume to give them an edge. Not a good idea—you are setting yourself up for failure.
3. GIVING EVERYONE THE SAME RESUME
This may come as a surprise to some job seekers but your resume is not one-size-fits-all (jobs). No two roles are alike—and your resumes shouldn’t be either.
Instead of sending out a generic resume to multiple employers, a more effective option would be to work on one application at a time, tailoring your résumé to fit the job description and taking the time to truly understand what each employer is looking for.
One more—perhaps obvious—note: Don’t save versions of your resume with a file name that makes it obvious that you’ve submitted a particular version: For example, JaneDoe-resume marketing or JaneDoe-resumesales. Just keep it simple and save the file as your name.
4. GETTING TOO ELABORATE WITH FORMATTING AND STYLE
Formatting is key. Don’t let your resume get out of hand with fonts and graphs and distract the reader from what’s important. If you’re going to use bullets, they should be the same size and shape in each section and align from page to page.
Because recruiting agencies have to add their logos and sometimes condense a resume, try using a template that doesn’t require you to work within “boxes” (which are difficult to format).
And make sure your resume style progresses with you. Remove those early jobs that acted as fillers and thoughtfully design the layout. It should include clean lines and a different (non-neon) font color to highlight job titles.
5. BEIGN VAGUE
You’ll never hit the bull’s-eye with a vague resume. Your laser-focused competitor candidate will knock you out of the game.
When you are too wordy and vague, we don’t know what you’ve actually accomplished. Employers like to see as much information as possible up front. Highlight your accomplishments. If you raised money or saved money, put down the actual figure—never give a generality that you can’t verify when they dig deeper.
6. SQUEEZING TOO MANY WORDS ONTO THE PAGE
There’s no hard and fast rule about résumé length. For new college graduates, 66% of employers say a resume should be one page long, and for more seasoned workers, 77% of employers say they expect a resume that’s at least two pages long.
When trying to condense your employment history and skills into a few pages, choose the accomplishments that are most in line with the open position’s main responsibilities and with the company’s corporate values.
7. OMITTING EXACT DATES
Omitting exact dates of employment often raises suspicion in employers and makes it look like the job seeker is trying to cover something up. If you’ve got a large gap in your résumé, be up front about it and address the issue in a cover letter.
27% of employers identified résumés that don’t include exact dates of employment as one of the most common résumé mistakes that may lead them to automatically dismiss a candidate. Employers need to know your tenure, good or bad.
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