I know resumes are boring and they are the last thing that you want to work on with your free time. But, trust me…you need to. Your resume is nearly never finished and it can always be improved and made better. It’s always in draft format. Recruiters can tell when you have spent a lot of time on it and when you really care about getting the job. Your resume will only be looked for 5-7 seconds so it MUST communicate what you want FAST. If you can avoid the most common resume mistakes, you already have an advantage.
Over the last week I reviewed over 20 resumes of the students in my career development class at DeVry University. I saw the same resume mistakes over and over again that I don’t want you to make.
[Related: Writing a Resume – The Complete Guide]
Here are the 10 most common resume mistakes to avoid:
1) Your resume has tiny font: Please don’t use small font that I can’t read. Anything under size 10 makes my eyes hurt.
2) Your summary/objective is all about what you want. Please don’t include a summary all about what you want and what the company can do for you. Instead, tell them what YOU can do for the company. This is the first section someone looks at so you want to make it clear what type of job you would be an excellent fit for and why they should call you in for an interview.
3) Your resume is full of bad grammar. Don’t capitalize everything that you think is important (words like marketing and successful don’t need to be capitalized). Use active voice instead of passive voice. If something was done in the past, make sure you put it in past tense. For bullets, it is a good idea to start each bullet in the same type of grammar such as all verbs or all nouns, etc. They should also all be either past tense or present tense. So for one bullet you don’t want to have present tense and another bullet have past tense and another have an adjective.
4) Your resume is just a list of tasks and has no results or accomplishments. Don’t just list the tasks you did at your previous jobs. Instead, show the results and accomplishments that you helped create. Did you help save money, improve client satisfaction or increase sales, etc? Use numbers and percentages whenever possible.
5) Your resume has way too much information. Highlight all of the experience you have in the job you want to get. Don’t include all of the work you have done the past 10 years that doesn’t match the job you want (including when you were the dishwasher at a fast food restaurant). If you went to multiple universities, you only need to include the school that you graduated from. Never put your high school if you are in college. Keep it to no more than 2 pages but preferably one page unless you already have a ton of experience. Never do 1 and a half pages…make it 1 or 2 full pages instead. Don’t just list a ton of words just stringed together. It looks messy so use bullets instead.
6) You made your resume from scratch. There are so many templates that you can find online, please use a template. You don’t have to start from scratch! Make it easy on yourself and easy on the reader.
7) Your bullets are not lined up. Make sure your bullets are lined up and please use multiple bullets instead of one really long bullet. It’s really about making your resume flow and easy on the eye.
8) Your resume is missing important keywords. Not including keywords is a great way to not get a call back for an interview. Make sure you use as many keywords from the job description as possible because your resume will be going through a human resources management system.
9) You do not have multiple resumes. If you are applying to different types of jobs, you need to have a different resume for each type of job. You can’t do a one-size-fits-all approach.
10) Your resume is full of bad content. Another mistake is writing something that means something to you but not to the perspective employer. Also, don’t use generic terms like team player, integrity, motivated or hard worker. Almost everyone that is applying to the job probably has these qualities so it doesn’t make you unique at all.
See it’s easy to avoid resume mistakes. For more good stuff, take a peek at my resume and get a free resume template.
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