Your cover letter and resume are your introduction to potential employers. Because of their importance, you want these documents to represent you in the best way possible and highlight all the skills and qualifications you bring to the table. Avoid the following warning signs on your resume that tell hiring managers you may not be a good fit for the position or have something to hide.
1. Inconsistent Dates
Make sure the employment history timeline on your resume follows a specific date format so it's easy for employers to see where you've worked in the past. Don't leave employment gaps unexplained. If you took a break to enroll in classes, volunteer your time or do an internship, explain this gap in your cover letter. The same goes for any overlaps. You don't want an employer to think you are hiding a bad work experience or are fudging the experiences you do have.
2. Mismatched Online Presence
If your resume says you have experience in social media marketing and are an expert in creating social media campaigns and developing customer profiles, but your LinkedIn profile looks like you threw it together in five minutes and you haven't tweeted in five years, you've got a mismatched online presence. You also want to make sure that the details on your resume match the information you have about yourself on your various social media profiles. Employers will become suspicious of dates that don't match or other inconsistent information.
3. Job Regression
If you were the director of an organization but then took on a role as secretary or some other lower-level position in the same industry, this is a flag for hiring managers. You want to address why this seniority regression occurred. If you decide to work in a new industry, you might have to start at the bottom, but it's unusual for someone with senior-level management experience to be demoted to a clerical worker.
4. Mismatched Job Qualifications
Avoid listing qualifications and skills on your resume that don't match the job requirements. You don't want to misrepresent yourself, but you also want the resume to be relevant to the job to which you are applying. Look at the job posting, and tailor your resume to the job. You want the resume to speak to that job so the hiring manager will know why you applied and see you are qualified for the position.
Other warning signs that may turn off an employer include grammatical errors and typos, as well as the wrong tone. Your resume needs to be polished and free of mistakes. Avoid these warning signs that could ruin your chances of getting hired, and ask a trusted colleague or friend to review your materials before submitting them to make sure they send the right message.
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