5 Common Resume Mistakes To Avoid
(And How To Fix Them!)
When it comes to careers, we are all in different places. Now more than ever, the workforce is changing and creating a major impact on many jobs. You may be loving your job everyday, not in the workforce currently, or on the pursuit of a new endeavor. Whatever your situation looks like, your experience and skills matter. I make it a point to routinely keep my resume up to date and polished. Regardless of my current intentions for job searching, it speaks to your career goals to always be prepared. You never know when you will be force to make a shift, or when a better door is opened!
Oftentimes your resume is the first taste an employer has of you as a person and it can be a deciding factor in scoring an interview or leaving a strong first impression. While there are endless ways a resume can be molded to fit you, there are also a few common mistakes to avoid that can hinder you from showcasing your best. Take a look at your resume to make sure you aren’t making these common mistakes and how to fix them, so you are ready for anything that comes your way!
1. Typos and Mixed Tenses
The very first thing to check for in your resume is any typos! Typos such as missing words, misspelled words, or using the wrong homophone can detract from the parts of your resume that you want the recruiter to pay attention to. The other common error when it comes to typos is the tense you choose to describe your experiences. In general you want to use past tense with any previous positions and present tense with your current job. Ultimately consistency is what matters. Choose the tense that you prefer and stick to it. It can be difficult to sift through when you are constantly switching between past and present tense.
Eliminate any typos you can find and have a friend look for typos after you that you may have missed. Read through each sentence to ensure your tenses match and sound appropriate given the timing of the experience. It is also helpful to print your resume before submitting and read over it again. Sometimes you will notice things in print that you missed while reading on the computer.
2. Too Many Details
Many people feel more comfortable talking about their careers on paper instead of in person. This oftentimes translates into resumes that are jam packed with every detail that can fit on a page. The end result of all the extra details and words, is the key messaging is lost. Your resume should make your value to the employer evident, and showcase why you are the best candidate quickly and efficiently.
Scan your resume and try to parse down each section to resemble your “elevator pitch.” For each position or achievement listed, you want the major responsibilities, skills, and accomplishments to be obvious and not embedded. Cut down on anything wordy, anything too repetitive, and anything that does not add value.
3. Generic Resume
Do not get overwhelmed by the next sentence. If you are truly interested in a position, you need to tailor your resume EACH time to the individual job posting. If you work to refine your resume, it should be a very minimal amount of time and effort to tweak based on the role. Before submitting your resume for a specific role, you want to review all available job posting and company information to make sure that you are highlighting the most important items. Every role is niche is some way and is looking for specific skills, experiences, or results. You want to tweak your resume to emphasize the pieces that align most to that role to ensure you stand out.
This does not mean writing something completely new or untrue. The basis of your resume is sound, but you can tweak your word choices or how you display your unique qualifications to shift the focus around on your resume to best align. Consider using some of the same language from the posting or reordering your items based on the requirements. For many skills and responsibilities, there are tons of words that can be used to describe the same thing so take some time to find the best ones based on the job you want.
4. Out of Date or Unprofessional Contact Information
Ultimately you are hoping your resume will lead to the next steps in landing that job! Ensuring that your contact information is clear and correct is of the utmost importance in receiving a call back. You should include up to date contact information at the top of your resume and make sure that it is clear to the recruiter. I have heard from many people that they have forgotten to update their new phone number or address, which can impact the ability of the recruiter to reach out.
You also want to ensure that the contact information you choose to list is professional. If you are using your personal email, you want to create a new email account with a simple and clear email address such as JohnDoe1@gmail.com. If your only email address is XOhipstergurl@aol.com you may cost yourself any chance at an interview if the recruiter is turned off by your personal address.
5. Including Irrelevant or Useless Information
Especially in today’s job market, competition for the best positions can be tough. One of the ways to become a front runner for a position is to show your impact or quantifiable results. Instead of simply listing your prior responsibilities in a list, dive deep into how you achieved your goals in a way that will impress the new company. Did the work you did lead to significant revenue, cost savings, or customer satisfaction increases? What does the outcome of your success look like now in the company? What legacy are you leaving? Not every job has quantifiable results but if there are opportunities to highlight them on your resume you absolutely should.
You also want to make sure that you maximize on the limited space of your resume with only relevant information. If your first job as a high school life guard is still on there but you have at least 5 professional roles after that one, you can get rid of things that are very old or not related to your current industry. Listing some personal achievements or information such as honors or volunteer activities is great for showing who you are, but make sure it is not overwhelming the important professional accomplishments by being way too long or outdated.
Your resume is something that should represent you, and make you feel confident in the pursuit of any next steps in your career! These resume mistakes are common and essential to avoid so that you make your greatest impact. Make sure it stays refreshed and ready for anything coming your way.
All the best,