Just as we hope to get the position of our dreams, we have to do everything possible to make that dream come true. From gaining the experience we need to get that all-important dream job to building our resumes with the right information, we have a lot we can do to make our skills, our qualifications, our abilities, and even ourselves stand out among all the other hundreds of applicants. When we’ve gotten our resume built with the right experience and we start sending them, we wait and hope to hear back soon from the companies that have received that important document. As the weeks go by, we don’t hear anything so we send out more. Still, more weeks go by and we’re getting nothing in return. What could be the problem? We’re more than qualified and we’re confident we can do the job. Why aren’t we getting calls, asking for interviews? Well, the problem could be the resume itself. Take these ten resume writing mistakes you want to avoid and measure them against your resume to see if one or more are the reason(s) you’re not getting the attention you should.
- Your resume has multiple errors in spelling and grammar. There is nothing more annoying for recruiters and hiring managers than sifting through hundreds of resumes for a job. When they land on one that seems promising, they’ll take the time to start reading it or at least glance at it. The fastest way to get them to put it down is to find grammatical errors and misspellings throughout that resume. Not only will they stop reading it, but it’ll probably find its way to the shredder. Though we all know that not everyone is the greatest at spelling or using the correct grammar, that’s fine; however, if you know you aren’t the best, then you need to find someone that can review your resume before you send it. At the very least, that’s what Spell Check is for within your word processor. Don’t let this be the reason you’re not getting interviews. It’s such an easy fix and an unnecessary reason to be passed over.
- You haven’t updated your resume in a while with your latest position and new skills or your contact information is incorrect. Outdate information would show that you don’t care to take the time to attend to necessary details. If you can’t be bothered to update your resume, what guarantee does the company have that you’ll pay attention to the important details within your position’s responsibilities. That company doesn’t want an accountant, for example, that doesn’t pay attention to the numbers being entered into the books. This lack of attention to detail can cost the company some serious profits as it must struggle to repair the setback because of a simple reversed number placed by a careless accountant. If you’re serious about getting a job, then you should be constantly updating your resume whenever you move or switch phone numbers as well as you find new positions and learn new skills. Companies want to see these changes and expect to see them.
- You’ve found instances of oversharing information that recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to read. While you’re updating your information or building your resume from scratch, you’ll want to watch the amount of information you’re adding to avoid oversharing. Most resumes shouldn’t be past a page, maybe two, depending on your level of experience and the number of jobs you’ve held in the past. You’ll only want to go back the last 7 to 10 years unless other jobs worked within the same industry and position as the one you’re applying. Most companies don’t want your entire life story because they don’t want to read that much and because they just don’t care to do so. Hiring managers and recruiters have other duties that keep them busy, which doesn’t include reading your biography you sent them. So, when you’re updating or building your resume, keep your details on point and choose a key few to exemplify your skills, qualifications, and talents along with relevant work history with your accomplishments at each position.
- You’ve allowed for the boring and mundane to lead your paragraphs and sections. We can’t all have the most exciting lives, but there are surely ways your life has been somewhat exciting as you’ve joined the work force and accomplished some goals for yourself and for the company where you worked. When you build your resume with the more mundane things we all experience in our lives from time to time, then you’re setting yourself up to be ignored. You want your resume to be filled with hook words and phrases to draw a recruiter’s attention to your resume. Make your statements pack a punch, making the recruiter take notice, especially when it comes to your skills, your objective statement, and your summary statement. You don’t want to state “I did this. I did that,” but rather your statements should say “I accomplish this. I accomplish that.” Make your statements hit them hard and hook them in.
- There’s a fine balance between modesty and confidence. Where did your resume fall? We all know that it’s easy to sound overly confident in our abilities when we put them down on paper in the form of a resume, but what about the opposite? Is there a way we can be too modest? Yes, there is, and it’s just as bad as being overly confident. Companies don’t want employees that take all the credit when it was obviously a group effort, but they also don’t want people to downplay their hard work when it’s obvious they more than pulled their weight. Finding the balance is the key to winning over a recruiter. In your resume, you should include accomplishments through team efforts and accomplishments you made on your own. This way, the recruiter will see you can work on a team, but you’re also capable of handling projects on your own with favorable results. They want employees that have the best of both worlds. So, find your balance and project it in your resume.
- Your objective statement is one-size-fits-all. The myth that there is the perfect one-size-fits-all is one of the worst that ever came into being in our society. It doesn’t work in the fashion industry and it definitely doesn’t have a place in your job search. If it did, it would imply that you could use the same general objective statement for a position as a doctor as you would for a position as a fry cook in a run-down restaurant. You wouldn’t because these jobs are not the same for obvious reasons. You don’t want to do the same between companies within your industry. They all have their job-related skills they want. They have differing cultures and beliefs. Because of this, you need to make your resume’s objective statement as specific as you can, so you won’t find your resume moving to the bottom of the pile or into the trashcan.
- Your skill set doesn’t match the right keywords from the job posting. All of us are guilty of this in some respects, but we really need to pay attention to what our resumes have in them and how well they match the job posting we’re about to send a reply. If they have skills they want for their prospective employee, we’ll want to ensure those skills are available for them to see in our resumes (as long as we have that skill, of course). If we have a specific skill they want and we leave it out, we could be facing the possible consequence that our resume will be ignored. Since none of us want this in an any economy, we need to review our resume with each job posting and do all we can to tailor our resume to that job posting based on the keywords we find there.
- You’ve left out key details in your accomplishments. This is where you’ll want to avoid generalizations again with your resume. Your accomplishments from the jobs you’ve held are important evidence to back up your claims you’ve put in your skills section. For example, you typed that “you helped a company increased sales.” Okay, that’s good, but how did you do it and what were the results? You’re missing some key details to impress the recruiter that may be glancing at your resume as we speak. A better statement for this example is something like this: “you helped increase sales by 15% for a company by implementing new protocols in customer relations.” Now, you’ve given them what you did, how you did, and the results of your successful efforts. You’ll want to do this for each accomplishment you place on your resume, so you’ll stand out compared to the rest, making the recruiter rush for the phone to speak with you.
- You’ve forgotten the power of the voice of action and settled on the voice of passivity. Active versus passive is an argument that any English major will explain is a constant battle between some willing to fight and one that stands on the sidelines. For your resume, you want it to be in the thick of the fight, not sitting on the sidelines hoping to be noticed. When you’re describing your accomplishments and who you are, you want words that show you’re a person capable of action, not one that allows things to happen without being involved. For example, you don’t want each of your accomplishments or duties to start with the words “responsible for,” but rather you want words like “resolved,” “handled,” and “organized.” There are plenty of action-packed words you can find within a dictionary or a thesaurus, so utilize these tools.
- The skills that are job-specific for that position aren’t at the top of your resume. When it comes to your skills section, you want to be sure that you’re ranking your skills in the order they should be ranked. It’s great that your hard-working and organized, but those are skills you can learn anywhere and should be ranked as lower level skills, placing them closer to the end of your list. Then, you have skills that are specialized that you’d gone through the extra trouble of learning to broaden your skill base. These skills should be somewhere in the middle since having the ability to speak multiple languages clearly outranks hard-working and organized. The final group is the job-related skills you’ve learned for that specific position and wouldn’t necessarily be useful outside that position. Litigating in a courtroom is a job-specific skill and its successful usage should be one of your top runners on your resume. So, watch where you place your skills because you want the skills that are most important for the position you’re wanting to be at the top, not the bottom, unless you want your resume at the bottom of the pile.
Having your resume performing at the top of its game can ensure that you’re getting the positions you want for the top of your game. Make sure your resume doesn’t have any of these pitfalls listed above and you’ll find that you won’t be wondering when the recruiters will call. They’ll be calling right away because you’ve shown them the best possible candidate is you based on your resume. From there, you’ll want to charm them with your interview and await the job offer that’s sure to come. As long as you don’t allow your resume to fall down on the job, you won’t have to worry about your chances falling down right next to it.
NOW GET YOUR 50 FREE RESUME TEMPLATES