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13 common resume mistakes and how to fix them

6/29/2016

Photo Credit:  Flazingo Photos

When a single job posting can elicit hundreds upon hundreds of responses from job seekers, it’s critical to get your resume to stand out in the crowd — but only for the right reasons, of course! The quality of your resume can either make or break your chances of landing that dream job. Are you guilty of making these common resume mistakes? If so, here’s how to fix them. 

Typos and grammatical errors. There is no excuse for a resume with errors, yet typos and grammatical issues are some of the most common — and avoidable — resume mistakes. Beyond spellcheck, a second and even third set of eyes on your resume can make all the difference. Don’t let potential employers assume you are lazy, sloppy or just can’t write. 

Awkward formatting. One style does not fit all when it comes to resume formatting, but it is important to be consistent in your use of typeface, spacing, bolded headers and bulleted lists. Professional is always better than cutesy, and remember, white space is your friend. Make sure your resume does not appear overly cluttered or chaotic.  

Ignoring keywords. An effective resume is one that uses powerful, punchy keywords that will pique interest. The goal is to directly target jobs you are most interested in and using keywords is the best way to do that!

Being too wordy. Job recruiters typically only scan resumes for 10 seconds or less before moving on to the next candidate. Wordy resumes will end up in the trash can. Your resume is not an autobiography. Give them the highlights.

Being vague. Let your resume tell your story and allow it to sell you as a great employee! Make sure your resume is personalized, focused and uses specific examples that will set you apart from other job applicants. Make it obvious what you’ve actually accomplished in your schooling and career. 

Using cookie-cutter resume templates. If you think an employer can’t spot a cookie-cutter resume template, you’re wrong. They’ve seen it all. So why not make your resume unique by giving it a personal touch? Your resume is the best marketing tool you have to land you an interview. So be sure yours has enough differentiating features to get you noticed.

Your resume is too short or too long. It is a common misconception that you must limit your resume to one page. Even when being concise and impactful, sometimes it is unavoidable to limit your resume to just one page, especially if you have a long career history and a lot of work experience. Two page resumes are perfectly acceptable. Don’t ever sacrifice important content for length, but also only include the pertinent information. On the flip side, resumes that are too short are also a big no-no. Employers want more than a simple list of your education and work history. They want to know specifically what makes you the right person for the job. 

Too much personal information. TMI! Save the personal information for the end of the job interview when the interviewee asks you to tell them more about yourself. That is the perfect opportunity to give your potential employer a glimpse into your interests and personality. 

Listing your high school. Unless you are fresh out of college, don’t list your high school education on your resume. If you have been in the workforce for several years and have a college degree, it is assumed you graduated high school. This will also save you precious space. 

Failing to include specific accomplishments. Have you won any awards for your work? Did you help build a website or increase sales at your last job? Including specific accomplishments, backed by specific metrics if possible, can set your resume apart from others in the stack and can help show employers that you add value and are an asset to a company. 

Stating anything about references. Save the space and don’t bother including the phrase “references available upon request.” It’s assumed that you have references and can provide them if needed. 

Being misleading and dishonest. When your resume is the only thing between you and that dream job, it may be tempting to embellish the truth to make yourself look better on paper. Don’t. Getting caught in a lie on your resume can ruin your reputation. Or, if you land the job, save yourself the embarrassment of being fired for not being able to perform the skills you boasted about on your resume.  

Maintaining an unprofessional personal brand. Have you Googled yourself lately? There may be more out there in cyberspace then you realize. Don’t be fooled, potential employers are looking at your online existence. It’s OK to have a personal Facebook and Twitter account, but keep them set to private and always keep it classy. Also, if you haven’t already, make sure your personal email account and voicemail are business appropriate.  

Is your resume ready to win you jobs? Post it to the Automation Alley Talent Exchange

 
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