Another year, another resume.
More like another 500 resumes. That’s easily how many I have seen, reviewed, or worked on this year in some capacity.
But are they better overall?
I still come across just as many mistakes as I did when I started writing resumes over 5 years ago. In fact, I think I see more now because of how common ATS’s are becoming and how few people write their CV’s/resumes to account for them.
Here are the most common ones:
1. Terrible Formats: Many resumes are confusing, use unprofessional formats, tiny fonts, bury important information, contain walls of text, have no bullets/only bullets, etc. These are design-related issues that 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.
Plus, the amount of people I see using two-column, infographic, or design-heavy templates is unprecedented. Skill bars, graphics, logos, graphs, fancy fonts, etc, DO NOT WORK. They are hard to read and convey very little information/value.
“But I wanted my CV to show how creative I am!”
Let me get this straight, you went online, bought a resume template from an online craft store and this makes you creative? No. Remember, unless you’re applying for a job as a resume designer you need to be focusing on the content and not the design of your CV.
Companies want to know if you can fulfill the needs of the position they are hiring for. That’s it.
2. Mass-sending: The one-size-fits-all approach. I get it, you “don’t” have time to tailor your resume. Well sorry to tell you, employers post positions for very specific roles. You must 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, they are looking for an ideal candidate, not just anyone. Always write your resume with the prospective employer in mind.
Consider it like this, if you’re not willing to take the time to write a tailored CV/resume, why should a company take the time to train and spend the money to hire you?
3. Spelling and Grammar: You’ve likely heard that a single spelling and grammar error is enough to get your resume trashed. This is not entirely wrong. Most recruiters will give you a bit of leeway but the fact remains, 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 check 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.
4. You’re Applying to Jobs You Can’t Get: It is as simple as it sounds. Job seekers tend to apply to jobs they aren’t qualified for. Why do they do this? Often, the rationale behind it is
“I may as well try; you never know right?
Well, I do know, and it rarely ever works. Employers want an ideal candidate. If they are sourcing for a role and have no qualified applicants do you think they are just going to pick the best out of who applied? No, they will re-post, headhunt, or network. Why? Because this is less costly than hiring a person who knows barely anything about the role and training them from the ground up or taking the risk associated with hiring someone who is not qualified.
More importantly, when you are applying to jobs that you’re not qualified for your chances of getting past the applicant tracking system is slim to none. As they are designed to parse out unqualified candidates immediately.
So just don’t do it, focus on where you have a chance, not where you don’t.
Disclaimer: The caveat to this is if you have some sort of internal connection, referral, or some other “in” that will mitigate your lack of qualifications. Try and practice good judgment.
5. This is the BIGGEST mistake people are making: They aren’t hiring me! I’m only partially kidding. Why not just leave it to the pro? EVERY single one of my Executive Professional clients has been hired in the industry/position they hired me to help them get. 100%.
Sometimes, if you want something bad enough it is better just to pay an expert. But I get it, we are all rugged-individualists. If you would rather do it yourself, send me a message on the contact form. I’m starting a step-by-step resume writing course where I will be giving you everything I know about the resume process. Ask to be added to the waitlist, good things are coming!