Mistakes on a resume can doom your application to the discard pile before HR even calls to check your references. Once someone says "no" before asking former supervisors for more details, that means your chances of landing an interview based on your resume alone are not good. Keep in mind several resume mistakes that could prevent you from moving forward in your job search.
1. Typos and Grammatical Errors
Up to 59 percent of recruiters reject resumes due to poor grammar or spelling errors. This is one of the top reasons why someone rejects a resume. Considering that one in five recruiters reject a candidate before finishing the entire resume, one or two small typos can make all the difference regarding a call back.
2. Falsified Information
Sometimes you accidentally input the wrong information in terms of your work history, job duties or time spent at particular employer. Even if this is an accident, a potential employer may see this as dishonesty. HR managers and supervisors want to work with people they can trust.
3. Lack of Tailoring
Tailor your resume to the job description at hand. Submitting a generic resume shows you have little to no understanding of the position. You may feel like sending out a bunch of resumes to several employers at once, but that strategy backfires when HR takes a closer look. Include the most important keywords from each job description to show you have a grasp of what the position actually entails.
4. Weird Formats
Clear, simple formatting is the way to go for resumes. Do not bother with fancy borders, a stylized font that is hard to read, embedded images or even the ubiquitous emojis that everyone sees on the Internet and in text messages. Your resume is a professional document, and you should treat it as such. You can format your resume to make it look sharp so HR notices it, but avoid extra decoration.
Avoid clichés that a lot of people may put in their resumes. Clichés are overused words and phrases. Consider, for example, "I work independently," "I work well under pressure," and "I work hard." Most recruiters and HR managers probably figure that you can do any one of these three things. Stand out from the crowd by showing relevant numbers that tell your story rather than vaguely touting your abilities.
Your resume should be one page, or maybe two, depending on the type of position for which you apply. You should balance formatting with putting a lot of words on one page. If you try to squeeze too much onto a single page, the font could look too small and hard to read. Your resume starts to look too cluttered when you try to jam a lot of words into one page. Strike a balance among the right format, proper font and relevant details to include.
7. Passive Voice
Simply listing job duties can get boring and be tiresome to read. As an alternative, use active verbs to illustrate how you performed your job duties. Consider the difference between "Worked 35 hours per week typing documents" and "Typed three reports per day for four years."
8. Leaving Out Your Skills
Work experience, education, certifications and qualifications are great. However, do not forget to leave out any relevant skills. Sprinkle skills into your achievements or career summary section. Skills let your employer know what you bring to the table on a daily basis.
9. Unprofessional Email Address
Create a professional email address for submitting resumes and applications as opposed to going with a personal one. The email address "firstname.lastname@example.org" shows people your hobbies or interests, but not necessarily your professional attitude. Use a simple email address that features your name or initials.
10. Writing in Third Person
Start sentences with active verbs, but leave out the subjects "I," "he" and "she." Writing in the third person means you talk about yourself as if you are some other person not included in the resume. When you say "Created and maintained the company website for three years," you imply the "I." Writing in the third person works for a 50-word bio at the end of a news story, but not for resumes.
Avoid key mistakes on resumes to catch the attention of human resources. Once you do that, you have the ability to wow your new employer with your personality. However, your polished resume comes first.
Photo Courtesy of Emma Ann at Flickr.com