In many cases, your resume is your introduction to potential employers. Before they receive that important document, most know little or nothing about you. Essentially, you’ve got one page to make a great impression. Even a small error, can derail things. Unfortunately, these errors are all too common, leaving applicants at a serious disadvantage. Before you apply for the job of your dreams, double check your resume for one of these nine mistakes.
- Blending in With Other Applicants
In the past few years, people have begun replacing the old, resume objective with a personal statement. If you haven’t already, you should follow suit. Then, use your personal statement as an opportunity to showcase your personal brand, and stand out from the crowd. It’s just a paragraph or so, but it makes a big difference.
Yes, it may seem a bit awkward at first. Not everyone does self-promotion very well. Still, it’s an important way to demonstrate what makes you different from the average applicant. Work to create a catchy tagline, then summarize yourself in a couple of sentences.
2. Standing Out in The Wrong Way
Unfortunately, there’s a potential downside to making yourself stand out. There’s an emerging trend of job seekers pulling out all stops to make themselves seem ‘unique’. This includes:
- Sending a video resume when a standard one was requested.
- Delivering resumes in person, even having them sent by pizza companies or as singing telegrams.
- Using off the wall formatting, fonts, or imagery.
- Employing other ‘unique’ techniques.
Yes, these techniques work sometimes. You’ve likely seen the story of the resume delivered by donut box, or of the man who landed an internship with GQ by turning his resume into a mockup of the magazine. Still, these are newsworthy for a reason. The fact that they were successful is exceedingly rare. Resist the urge to be unique. Follow the instructions for submitting your resume. If you want to do something different, like a video resume, link it in your cover letter.
3. Failing to Incorporate Keywords
Keywords are short phrases that can grab the attention of hiring managers, and help you make it to the interview stage. When a hiring manager receives their resume, they take less than ten seconds to read it. During those ten seconds, they’re looking for relevant keywords. If they don’t see them, into the bin with your resume or CV.
What keywords should you use? Basically, any keywords that apply to you, and show that you have the qualifications required. The best place to get keywords is from the job listing itself.
4. Being Dishonest
Once upon a time, it was fairly easy to fudge your employment record. That’s no longer the case. For one thing, most of us are quite active on social media. That often creates a digital ‘trail’ of employment history. In addition to this, many companies hire investigators to conduct in-depth investigations of potential hires. Between the digital evidence you’ve left behind, and investigative practices, you’re quite likely to get caught if you’re being dishonest.
5. Using a Generic Resume
It’s a real mistake to send the same resume out each and every time. There will be nothing in the document to show that you are specifically qualified for the job. Worse, an experienced HR person will easily recognize a non descript resume.
Yes, it can be very tiring to refresh your resume and cover letter each time, but it’s absolutely necessary. If you need assistance, consider using a professional service that specializes in jobseeker services. This includes:
- Supreme Dissertations – For CV and resume writing and editing
- Hot EssayService – All types of writing services for job seekers
- Grab my Essay – Resume and CV editing and design
6. Sharing Irrelevant Personal Details
If you look for sample resumes, many of them still have a section for ‘Hobbies and Interests’. So, many people feel obligated to include that in their own resume. Truth be told, you really shouldn’t. It’s usually entirely unnecessary. You can risk sharing information that puts hiring managers in an awkward position, e.g. revealing your religious or political associations.
The only exception to this is when a hobby or interest ties directly into your ability to do the job. For example, playing soccer doesn’t count. On the other hand, if you’ve organized a local league, and handle its book keeping, that could be relevant.
7. Going Too Far Back
If you’ve graduated from university, and have a couple years of work experience, nobody is going to care where you went to secondary school. The same is true of part-time jobs you held as a student. All of these entries just clutter your resume and give managers more information to sort through. Leave irrelevant jobs and education off of your resume or CV.
8. Leaving Off Your Current Education
Are you in the midst of pursuing a degree? Have you been taking online courses, or pursuing a certification in your field? A surprising amount of people fail to add these things to their resume. Instead, they only include education that they’ve completed. Don’t make this mistake. Knowing that you are close to finishing your studies can keep you inconsideration when you may have otherwise been passed over.
This can also leave a positive impression in other ways. Someone who’s attending school is goal oriented, driven, and hardworking.
9. Focusing on Duties Instead of Accomplishments
When your resume simply lists your daily tasks and duties, it doesn’t give a full picture of what you accomplish at your job. It’s also difficult for a hiring manager to determine whether or not you met or exceeded standards. For example, ‘swept and mopped sales floor, stocked shelves, and built displays’ doesn’t really communicate much. On the other hand, ‘Maintained cleanliness of retail sales area, and ensured that merchandising displays were attractive and properly displayed.’ shows that you took ownership of the attractiveness of your store.
If you can include numbers, that’s even better. Here are some examples:
- Built widgets with a 99% accuracy rate.
- Sold in excess of 1200 dollars’ worth of spa services each week.
- Met or exceeded production quotas in every quarter.
Take second (or third!) look at your resume before you send it out. If you’re making any of the mistakes listed above, you are significantly reducing your chances at landing the job of your dreams. A quick double check can make all the difference!