Resume Mistakes: 32 You Are Possibly Making
Every week I see a new post about resume mistakes. Some have five tips, others have seven, one I saw listed twenty-two and another author labeled their mistakes as “Mega”! This particular post, on Business Insider, was apparently so important or popular that they published and re-published it nine times over a three year period.
Your resume won’t get you a job. Your resume may get you a phone screen or a video interview and on the basis of those maybe a face to face but on average a recruiter won’t spend more than a minute looking at your resume. Some may invest only six seconds. Getting your resume right is imperative because the slightest misstep may cause the overworked recruiter to pitch your crumpled up resume through the basketball hoop suction cupped above their waste bin. I’ve looked at numerous posts and compiled the many mistakes you need to avoid. Take a deep breath. Here we go.
- You didn’t write a summary statement – Write one and customize it to each job position.
- Your resume is too fancy/stylized – Fancy fonts and colors don’t make you look smarter.
- You put in too much irrelevant content – Don’t tell me you are a hard worker, show through your work history how you were a hard worker.
- Your descriptions are vague – “Highly organized, go getter, best of breed professional.” Huh?
- You massacred your grammar/spelling – Instant rejection.
- You wrote a novel – One page preferred but no more than two.
- You forgot to attach it to the email – Not exactly a resume mistake but this happens often.
- You revealed confidential information about your past employer – Don’t betray anyone!
- You lied!!! – Even a small fib can hurt you.
- You wrote long paragraphs rather than bullet points – Keep it punchy!
- You are listing the successes of your team, not your own – What are your individual accomplishments?
- You used a bunch of technical jargon – We all know that flux capacitors are not real. You aren’t fooling anyone.
- You put “references available upon request” – Don’t waste space by putting this. The employer already knows that everyone can provide references.
- You included every job you ever had – Your lifeguarding duties twenty-five years ago are unnecessary….unless of course you are still trying to be a lifeguard.
- You didn’t use any action verbs – Don’t say “Responsible for balancing the budget” say instead, “Balanced the budget.”
- You used the same verbs over and over – Mix it up!
- You put in the incorrect contact information – If the recruiter calls you and gets someone else’s voicemail your resume will be slam dunked into the trash.
- You listed your references on the resume – Again, save the space.
- You left out dates – Recruiters need to know when and how long you worked at each location.
- You used an inappropriate email address – Hockeystud12@hotmail.com is not cool. Also complicated email addresses are annoying and are more prone to being keyed incorrectly such as firstname.lastname@example.org Keep your address simple!
- You included a picture of yourself – The employer doesn’t want a picture of you at this stage because if they reject you, they don’t want you to think they have done so based on your picture. In other words they don’t want to be accused of discrimination.
- You left out the URL to your professional online profile – They will look online if they want to discreetly discriminate against you. Oh, and Facebook does not count as a professional online profile.
- You embedded tables, images and charts – Don’t waste your space or the mere six seconds you may have.
- Your resume and your online profile don’t relate to one another – Your work history should be consistent all around.
- You left out relevant keywords – Resume scanning software will kick you out without relevant keywords.
- You put your work history in chronological order – Most recent experience first please!
- You didn’t include your relevant hobbies – Dungeons & Dragons is not a relevant hobby when applying for a boat captain position however sailing would be appropriate.
- You included skills that most job seekers already have – Having good communication skills means simply that you know how to read and write.
- You wrote in the third person or used pronouns like “I” – Everyone knows who is writing the resume.
- You used lazy words like “etc.” – “Extensive knowledge of Banking, Finance, etc.” – So I read your resume and yada, yada, yada, we hired someone else.
- You included party pictures – Pictures of you drinking don’t make a good impression.
- You listed your spouse as a reference – Also not appropriate are your children, grandparents, 1st grade teacher or pets.
Your resume is your opening salvo to finding a new job. These tips will at least help you aim and give you the right range. Good luck!