When it comes to putting together your resume, the saying “don’t sweat the small stuff,” does not apply. It’s the small stuff that can land your resume in the call-for-interview pile instead of the File 13 pile. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and avoiding these few resume mistakes can really make a big difference in updating your status from having no job at all to being E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.D.
E – Errors
One of the most obvious resume mistakes you can make is to include spelling and grammatical errors. Employers will see this as either a representation of your intelligence (or lack thereof) or a sign that you don’t really care enough to put in the time it takes to make your resume perfect. You cannot rely on spellcheck to correctly change everything, especially proper names and places that you may have overlooked. It doesn’t look good if you misspelled the name or location of your last employer. Read your resume through several times, including out loud, and have another pair of eyes look at it, as well. A little proofreading goes a long way.
M – Missing the Point
This may seem obvious, but thoroughly read the job description. All too often people apply for jobs for which they are obviously unqualified, thinking it could get them in the door. Employers look at these resume mistakes with boredom and don’t appreciate you wasting their time. However, if your experience is comparable, or your skillset is applicable, by all means, apply. If the company is looking for five years of sales experience, and you only have four, but were salesman of the year, this is a deficiency employers may overlook. But in general, be sure you understand what the job and its requirements are before you apply.
P – Prototype Fill-In
If you have been using the same resume and have applied to a number of different jobs, this might be why you’re still on the market. Finding a resume template online and plugging in your information, then sending it to a hundred different job openings is neither effective nor smart. It is also one of the biggest resume mistakes you can make. Make your resume unique and specific to the job for which you are applying. Depending on the job, you may opt to leave out certain things that are not applicable, or you may want to add something that makes you more marketable to that specific employer. A one-size-fits-all mentality does not apply to resumes because every single person is uniquely different, so take the time to personalize your resume.
L – Layout
The layout of your resume is important. Avoid funky formatting, including using a variety of different fonts, font sizes, and colored ink. Even if you are just submitting your resume electronically, print it off to make sure that it prints neatly and without weird gaps or breaks. Employers will be printing it on their end and if something looks confusing or absurd, they won’t take the time to try to figure it out. If you are submitting a hard copy of your resume, white paper is your best bet. Also avoid any graphics or clipart. Companies will interpret your flashy neon paper with curly cues as an attempt to draw attention to an otherwise uninspiring resume and put it in the discard pile. Avoid this resume mistake by keeping the layout plain and simple.
O – Objective is Weak
Resume experts are divided as to whether an objective even needs to be included on a resume. But one thing they have agreed on is that if you are going to include an objective, it must be well-written. For example, an objective like, “Looking for gainful employment at a company I can contribute to,” is pointless. Of course you are looking for a job, that’s why you turned in your resume in the first place! A better objective would be one that is more specific, such as, “An entry-level position in a multi-level sales and marketing company where I can utilize my skills in fundraising and campaigning.” If you are unsure about how to write a good objective, avoid this resume mistake altogether, by simply not including it at all.
Y – You Are The Focus
This may seem counterintuitive since a resume is all about you, but remember that the focus of a resume should be how you are a good fit for the specific job, not just about you and what you have done. Tailor your skills and experiences and the previous work you have done to match the job you are applying for. Also, a resume should never use the word ‘I.’ Instead of, “I oversaw the development and production of all products in the warehouse,” write, “Oversaw development and production,” which implies first person. Using first person is a resume mistake that shows a serious lack of resume education.
E – Experience Seeking
One of the major resume mistakes job seekers make, especially those who are switching fields or entering a new job market, is to include somewhere on the resume that you are “looking for experience.” Employers interpret this phrase as, “I want to work for you just long enough to get something bigger and better.” Hiring and training is always a costly expense, so companies want to know that it will be worth their time and money. They want to hire people for the long haul. “Admitting” that a job would be for experience is shooting yourself in the foot before your qualifications are even examined.
D – Deceit
This should go without saying, but employers often run across resume mistakes that are actually intentional omits or lies by the applicant. Your resume needs to be straightforward and honest. Don’t try to hide or shorten gaps in employment by beefing up dates because the real dates will be discovered eventually. When including references, be sure that they can actually vouch for your work habits, your character, or both. Always be honest and straightforward with your resume.
Paying extra attention to the details on your resume will eventually pay off and help you find a job that not only suits you, but one where you’ll suit it as well. Avoiding these few mistakes will help your resume be stronger and make you stand out more as a potential employee. So, if you want to be employed, create a resume without mistakes so you can BE E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.D.