Writing a resume is not particularly easy and very few get it right. Editing and keeping out what is not required in your resume is equally important. You have so much riding on that document that there is little margin for making any errors. Here are the top mistakes that you must avoid.
Don’t Put a Picture on the Resume
A picture on your resume is a mistake, according to many resume experts. Of course, if your resume is for an industry such as acting, or modeling, your headshot means a lot. But in others, a picture can lead to instant rejection. If you want to show off your pretty click, do it on LinkedIn, not your resume. However, if you are applying outside the United States, this practice is more common on an international CV.
Don’t Use Unusual Fonts
Every candidate believes that they must try something different and unique to stand apart. Hiring managers also look for candidates with a different approach. Do not apply that to fonts. Many organizations sort resumes using some type of tracking software and prioritize them based on automated screening processes (ATS systems). They are designed to recognize commonly used fonts, but many do not process fonts that are rarely used, especially in a resume.
Also, fonts that are different from the usual ones may not be accepted by recruiters and hiring managers and may impact their decision-making process. Your resume may risk being overlooked just because you used a different font from others.
Don’t Experiment With Complex Resume Formats
The explanation for not using complex resume formats is similar to the font argument. The risk elements are the same. Your aim is to make sure the resume can be easily read. If you introduce any unusual or atypical format, it will be difficult to process the information you have provided. You may argue about the creative factor, but there is a good chance that many will find the attempt jarring. So why take a risk?
Don’t Use Polarizing Colors
When utilized wisely, colors can add clarity to your resume and help you emphasize on specifics. However, some candidates get carried away and go overboard with the color schemes. Too many colors can damage the first impression. Experts say blue and gray are the safest colors to use, and they look good on the computer screen too. A green and red color combo is also a popular choice. Candidates generally avoid using yellow, orange, and other similar ‘flashy colors’ on their resumes because they don’t show up well on the screen.
Don’t Address Yourself In First Person
A resume doesn’t have a subject. The general agreement is that you should not address yourself in the first person. The resume is no place for an I, me, mine type of approach in a resume. The verb or action you choose to describe your specialty must not have any of the above.
Don’t Fake Employment Data
The dates of employment on your resume must strictly match those in the employment or payroll records. They must also match the data posted in your LinkedIn profile and the answers you provided in the interview. If there is any date of data variation related to past employment records, it will likely be viewed as misrepresentation or carelessness. If you cannot remember months, use years only. Months can be clarified later on in the hiring process. Your resume is targeted to get you into the interview.
Don’t Include Graduation Dates
If you are a new job seeker, it is reasonable to display your graduation date on your resume. If you are already into your career for around five years or more, your work experience must take prominence over your graduation. Don’t include your graduation date if you have built up a career already. Your work experience is what counts in such cases.
Don’t Include Volunteer Work That’s Not Relevant
It’s a good move to add volunteer work in your resume, however it is best that they reflect aspects most relevant to your current job target. Notably, include work that is exceptional and undertaken recently. For instance, any pre-college volunteer work need not be mentioned in the resume if you have never done a similar job and have been working for over a decade.
Don’t Add Outdated Credentials
Adding credentials and certifications to the resume can boost its value, but only if they are current. Adding credentials that are time-lapsed might probably be viewed as negative.
Don’t List Every Online Class You Have Taken
You might be keen to make your resume lengthy and comprehensive but adding every online class you have taken is not the best way of achieving your goal. It might reflect your love for remaining updated and your passion for learning, but some hiring managers might not like the idea. Make sure you limit the list of online courses to ones that are relevant to your job and can add more value to your candidature.
Don’t Mention Irrelevant Jobs
Many applicants are confused about the number of jobs they should show in a resume. There is no standard number to this. Adding jobs relevant to your current application is a better way of showcasing your achievements. Hiring managers like to check your past. It tells them about your experience and whether you can be trusted to continue in the organization for a longer time.
Providing your hiring managers with too much information can create potential red flags. It may also make the resume appear complicated. If you have changed jobs more frequently than an average employee, eliminating some of them is a good idea, especially the irrelevant ones. If you want to be honest, these jobs can be summarized in a different section.
Don’t Allow Errors
Every employer loves a resume that provides a detailed and accurate picture. Your resume is viewed as a measure of your competency, accuracy, and attention to detail. If you provide information accurately and avoid errors, you can gain an early advantage. Review your resume for spelling errors, grammatical errors, and typos. Ask a third person to read and review it to make it more foolproof.
Don’t Send the Wrong Document Format
If you apply online, nearly all job portals insist on txt (ATS-friendly) or PDF submission of a resume. A PDF document retains the format regardless of the environment in which it opens. If you open a Google Doc in a word app, the layout doesn’t remain the same, and even the font changes at times. Some unique features, such as bullet points, disappear entirely or appear differently. That’s why always ensure the resume is presented in a PDF format, but if the company specifies a specific submission format, you must send the document in that format.
Don’t Use Subjective Language
With more people vying for different positions at the same time, your application will likely compete with thousands of submissions. To improve your chances of getting selected, avoid mistakes like using subjective language in the resume. Hiring managers are looking for information that can help them choose you over others. Help them by providing information that can clearly identify the roles and responsibilities you can handle in your new job, as well as demonstrating your past achievements to show how you can potentially add value to a new organization.
Don’t Embellish or Present Wrong Information Deliberately
The stakes of hiring are extremely high in a job market that’s uncertain and has limited funds for hiring and training. Hiring professionals are stretched to the extreme and must work hard by putting in long hours. They are adept at screening resumes and can quickly detect the good ones from the bad.
While facing such qualified hiring managers, it is not at all advisable to indulge in lying or embellishing your resume with incorrect information. Highly trained professionals generally have a firm grip on the core capabilities required for a job opening. They are also typically adept at detecting falsification or input that doesn’t seem to add up. Any attempt to add wrong information deliberately to mislead the hiring managers is futile. They will see through the effort quickly, and the loss will be yours entirely.
Resume writing is a tricky and complex task but it will be less cumbersome for those who have researched the market and know what present-day hiring managers and recruiters are looking for. Still, it involves some complicated balancing of highlighting the most crucial parts of the resume, establishing your specialties, and customizing the writing to match the demands of the role you are required to perform in the new organization.
Don’t make the resume writing process even more complicated by allowing common mistakes to creep in. Skilled hiring managers with years of experience will use this mistake to eject you out of the race quickly. By avoiding the top mistakes generally committed in writing resumes, you can quickly increase your chances of getting to the next step in the interview ladder.
On average, a corporate job opening receives roughly 300 applications. In order to stay in the running for an interview, you’ll need a great resume. Even if you have impressive work experience and the perfect skill set for the posted position, one simple resume mistake can get you rejected. Below is some advice on a few of the most common resume mistakes I see and what you can do to prevent them.
1. Objective Statements
This is more of a personal preference, but I think objective statements on resumes are unnecessary. It should be understood that when you apply for a job, your objective is to land the job. Instead of an objective statement, I’d rather see a professional overview or summary that talks about the highlights of your career.
With that being said, if you decide to include an objective statement, you should know that this is an area in which I commonly find mistakes. I cannot tell you how many resumes I have thrown into the trash for having an objective statement that says, “Obtain job at [wrong company name]” or “Relocate to [a city the company is not in].” If you choose to include an objective statement, make sure that any identifying information is tailored to fit the correct company.
2. Including Too Much Information
Another mistake I see consistently is trying to pack every experience or job you’ve ever held on your resume. Rather than the full novel of your career, your resume should be a synopsis. The idea that resumes should never be longer than one page is outdated, but your resume still should not take me an hour to read. No resume can (or should) include every possible duty and achievement in a job seeker’s life. Instead, summarize your career by highlighting the best and most relevant parts.
3. Your Information Is Difficult to Find
The next mistake you might be making on your resume is forcing the reviewer to work too hard to find the information they’re looking for. An experienced hiring manager is going to spend less than 30 seconds reviewing each resume. If they don’t find what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds, they might move on to the next resume.
With this in mind, make sure to list the most important information first. Your name, professional summary, and most current job title should all be placed at the top of the page. In addition to this, use a layout that makes relevant information easy to find. I advocate using reverse chronological order to list jobs and bullet points for job highlights rather than paragraph format.
4. Not Tailoring Your Resume to the Position
A big mistake that will hurt you during your job search is not tailoring your resume to the position. It’s a good idea to have a “master” resume file, but it is not smart to use the same resume for every application. The positions you’re applying for will probably have similar duties and qualifications, but each company will almost certainly place more emphasis on specific skills and experience than the others do.