Common Resume Mistakes to AvoidApril 11, 2022
Building a quality resume can be a time-consuming process. But what’s the point of all that work if your application is disqualified because of an easily-avoidable mistake?
Unfortunately, this is an all too frequent occurrence. That’s why we’ve put together this short guide on common resume mistakes to avoid so that you can submit your next job application with confidence.
Not checking for typos and basic mistakes
One of the most basic things that can get you eliminated from contention for a job is typos or simple errors in your resume. Those mistakes make it look like you aren’t detail-oriented – a quality that many employers are looking for.
Always spellcheck your resume and proofread it with a version you’ve printed out. You’re more likely to catch mistakes with a hard copy than with a digital copy.
Get someone else to look at it as well, like a friend or family member. They may be able to catch things you’ve missed, especially if you’ve revised your resume several times already. If possible, give them a hard copy to look at as well.
Keep an eye out for missing words, double spaces, or the wrong tense. For example, you should always use the present tense for current jobs and the past tense for previous jobs.
Including poor formatting
A hiring manager may have hundreds of resumes to look at, and your job is to make the resume as easy to read as possible. A hard to read resume will stand out for the wrong reasons and may be discarded.
Make sure the resume is easy to parse through. As a general resume formatting guideline, use size 11 or 12 for the font and stick with a basic sans serif font, like Arial. Sentences should be concise, with information grouped under different headers.
Writing a generic resume
Using the same resume for every job and internship is a time-saver, but you might be hurting your chances of getting hired. Resumes should be geared toward the specific position you’re applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for an internship at a marketing agency, you should highlight marketing skills on your resume. If you’re applying for an internship at a nonprofit, you may want to highlight your volunteer work instead.
Not focusing on results
Some job seekers think a resume is just a document that lists their previous or current responsibilities. But hiring managers don’t care what your day-to-day tasks were – they care about what you’ve achieved.
Instead of simply listing your previous job roles, use your resume to highlight your career accomplishments. For example, instead of writing “I was responsible for managing the inventory,” you should write, “I increased inventory efficiency by 12%.”
By focusing on metrics or specific results, you’ll show prospective supervisors that you’re the type of person who gets things done. Other examples of achievements include:
- Reducing waste or saving the company money
- Bringing on more clients
- Increasing sales
Not including keywords
If you’re applying for a job through an online portal, the resume will likely be scanned through a service that checks if you included certain keywords mentioned in the job listing. If you didn’t, the resume might be automatically discarded.
Go through the job posting and see which keywords stand out. Then, make sure your resume features those words.
You should also list the skills mentioned in the job posting, even if you’re not an expert. For example, if the job posting says you should know InDesign, mention it in the skills portion of your resume, even if you only have a basic understanding.
Not including all your work
Volunteer work could be appropriate to include in a resume if you learned skills that you could bring to a future job. For example, if you volunteered at an animal shelter as an intake manager, you can talk about how you’re a proficient multitasker with excellent customer service skills.
You also may be tempted to discount previous experience if it’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for, like the summer you spent waitressing at Chili’s or working as a cashier at Target.
But hiring managers want to see consistent employment history because it shows that you’re used to being in a professional environment. It’s always better to list a job on your resume, even if it isn’t in the industry you’re applying for, than to have an employment gap.
Embellishing your resume
If your resume looks sparse, it may be tempting to add more achievements or exaggerate your accomplishments. But if you do this and the hiring manager contacts one of your references, they may find out that you were lying.
It’s much worse to be caught lying on your resume than it is to have a thin resume. Employers will understand if you have a short resume if you’re young. But lying about your previous work experience is never OK.
If you’re having trouble thinking of items to include on your resume, talk to a friend or family member who knows you well and can remind you of things you’ve done.
Applying for jobs can be challenging, but by noting these common resume mistakes to avoid, you’ll increase your chances of landing the career you want. Taking the time to carefully structure and review your resume can help you stand out and be successful in your job search