The Biggest Resume Mistakes

Let’s see if this sounds familiar. You’ve applied to hundreds of jobs recently. Ideal jobs, jobs above your professional ability and jobs below your professional ability. One thing is clear: you’re not getting the jobs! So, what is the problem? Why isn’t your resume getting you interviews? What are your biggest resume mistakes?



SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER…….

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s probably not because you’re unqualified or that you’re remarkably unlucky. It’s probably because your resume has one or many fundamental errors. Yes, even one error can be all it takes to get your resume sent to the trash. Even the most diligent professionals can be making a fatal mistake without even knowing it.


SO WHAT ARE THE TOP FIVE COMMON ERRORS

1. THE “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL” APPROACH

Employers post positions for very specific roles. It’s imperative you understand what the employer wants before you send them your resume. Do yourself a favor and READ the posting. Make a list of the skills, requirements, qualifications, and responsibilities. Make special note of things you are qualified to do or have experience in. When you have compiled a list, begin writing/editing your resume to align with the posting. Remember, it’s all about filling their need and they are looking for that ideal person. Always write your resume with the prospective employer in mind.

2. DUTIES OVER ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Resumes should be centered around accomplishments. Hiring managers want to know that you can get things done, generate results, and excel in your work. Have a resume that’s accomplishment oriented. Try and provide quantified results when possible. Numbers talk and are easily measurable.


Consider using the P.A.R acronym as a guide:

Problem: What was the problem? Action: How did you solve it? Result: What was the result? (Quantify when possible)

Don’t completely omit your past responsibilities; they provide context to potential employers regarding the nature of your accomplishments. But remember an accomplishment always takes precedence over a duty.

3. DESIGN

In my career, I have seen many resumes that were confusing, used unprofessional formats, small fonts, buried important information, contained walls of text, have no bullets/only bullets, etc. These are design related issues which can make a huge difference. Recruiters don’t have 45 minutes to scour through a six-page resume trying to find if an applicant has a degree. Trust me, I’ve done it. Find a professional resume format and copy it or even purchase a resume template if you doubt your MS Word skills. Think clean, crisp, and professional looking.


4. LISTING EVERYTHING

A resume is not meant to be a directionless list of every job you’ve had.  Rather, it’s a tool to get you a job or a promotion. Many of my clients have no real focus or direction with their resume and hope that a list is good enough. They are sadly mistaken. Especially when considering that when you’re listing everything, you’re probably not tailoring your resume. Two errors in one.


5. SPELLING & GRAMMAR

You’ve likely heard that a single spelling and grammar error is enough to get your resume trashed. This is not wrong. Spelling and grammar errors demonstrate laziness, poor written communication, and a lack of attention. You should proofread your resume at least three times. The spell checker on MS word misses a lot of contextual errors and doesn’t correct run-on sentences and poor word choice. A much better option is to create a Grammarly account. It’s free and it will help you pick out some mistakes Word missed. In addition, it offers insights into why it makes the corrections it does.


Now you have a better idea of what your biggest resume mistakes might be.


Don’t under estimate the value of a polished and professional resume. In today’s market, it’s essential.