When applying for a job, there’s a good chance hundreds of others are applying for the same job. Because of this, your resume will have to be as flawless and effective as possible in order to make it to the next level.
Common resume mistakes, unfortunately, can often cost you your dream job and could have been avoided in the first place.
These are mistakes that should be avoided at all costs and could be quite possibly the biggest mistake you can make. While you can rely on Microsoft Word to pick up some spelling and/or grammatical errors, it won’t catch them all. Consider having a friend or even paying a professional editor to glance over your resume to make sure it’s error-free.
Most of your larger companies today will use complex software, known as applicant tracking systems, to scan your resume for keywords they are looking for. Because of this, your resume will be screened automatically before it even lands on a human’s desk to make sure you’re a good match for the company. According to my research, more than 60% of resumes submitted are rejected at this stage, so even though you may have the skills, your resume will be automatically tossed if you don’t include the keywords they are looking for.
Hiring managers, without a doubt, love to see exact numbers on your resume. Think about it for a second: If you were to say I increased the sales for my company, what would that even mean? 5, 10 20%? You want to be as specific as possible to showcase your measurable results. So, instead of saying “I increased the sales,” you could say, “I increase the sales by more than 44% in one year.”
Let’s say this article was a big blog of text with no subheadings, no paragraphs, and no organization, would you want to read it? Probably not. Since hiring managers will only glance at your resume for a few seconds, it’s important to make your resume is straight to the point and there’s plenty of whitespace to make sure the hiring manager can easily glance over your resume with ease.
Fancy and unusual fonts may look cute, but again, a hiring manager really doesn’t care about this as they are looking for the right skills for the position. While you don’t want to look like the other resumes, try to stick to the basic fonts such as Arial or Serif-based fonts. Again, most companies use those tracking systems and it can have a hard time scanning some ineligible fonts.
It’s always best to keep shorter job stints off your resume unless it relates to an internship or a temporary position. If you only held a job for a limited period of time, it may raise suspicion as to why you held the position for under a year.
Hiring managers, as already noted, don’t spend a lot of time glancing at your resume. This means that you should limit your valuable space to the jobs that matter. If you’re new to the industry and don’t have much work experience, for instance, then try to tie in your older jobs with the job you’re applying for. If you were a cashier, for example, you could talk about how you had to interact with people or organize paperwork at the end of the day. However, if you have enough experience, it isn’t necessary to list your waitress job you had at 16 on it.
Whether you took a year off to refresh or you simply couldn’t find work, don’t leave these gaps blank. Instead, be creative and talk about what you did during this time. While it’s okay to have a gap, recruiters often wonder what you were doing. Whether you were a volunteer or you were taking care of a family member, if you were somewhat productive, then list it.
Lastly, be unique. While it may be very tempting to send the same resume and cover letter to 100 people, it just won’t work. You need to stand out and make sure every single resume and cover letter you send out are catered to the job you’re applying for. Since hiring managers see 100s of resumes weekly, they can always point out someone who isn’t putting the efforts to match their job posting.
Resume building and sending it out will always be a lot of work, just like a job. But think of it this way: It’s going to be an investment for your future and you will always get what you put into it.