What sins would make your list of “Deadly 8” resume mistakes? Given my two decades of reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates, I’m frequently asked for resume tips. And while I’m always happy to help, I like to take a little different spin on a pretty popular topic. Rather than telling you what you should do to get noticed, this blog alerts you to the deadly mistakes that can land your resume in the garbage….in seconds!
1. Typos and grammatical errors. There is no quicker way for your resume to find the trash than to submit one littered with typos and grammatical errors. Unfortunately, I can assure you that I have passed on otherwise qualified candidates because of these very issues in their resumes. Think of it like this: to a potential employer, if you will submit a resume with mistakes, how much can they trust that your work will be accurate? No jokes on this one. Double and triple check it and then ask a friend to do the same.
2. Lack of detail. Be careful to provide enough detail so that potential employers gain a feel for what you actually have done and what you haven’t. It’s possible that vagueness “may” get you an interview; however, it will waste both your time and that of your potential boss if you are not qualified. Instead, provide enough detail that your skill level can be accurately determined during the pre-selection process. While you may receive less interview requests, you will know that you are qualified for those that you receive. And realistically, interviewing is stressful. Do you really want to prepare for ones that you stand no chance of getting?
3. One size fits all. If you are literally applying only for one type of job and responsibilities, then you may be okay with just one version of your resume. However, if you are like most folks in the job market, you plan to cast your net a bit wider during your search. If that’s the case, plan time to customize your resumes to different fields and types of positions. While I realize this will take more of your time during creation, it’s a must in this competitive environment.
4. Underestimate importance of word selection. Unfortunately, many larger companies use a screening tool to make the first cut on candidates. What that means is that if you don’t include enough of the appropriate “Keywords,” your resume is never even seen by a human. While I realize that can be discouraging, it’s a very simple error to fix. Carefully read the job post (and others for the same type positions) and include words that recur and are relevant to that industry and the required skills. Check out this article by Alison Doyle for more on this subject:
5. Focus on duties instead of accomplishments. While it may sound like a fine line, to a prospective employer there is a big difference between a resume that is duty vs. accomplishment focused. Instead of listing your daily tasks, focus on what physical accomplishments you were able to achieve. It will be a much more impressive list and allows a potential employer to visualize you as a leader and productive member of their team as opposed to someone who just did their work.
6. Plagued with Inconsistencies. While the digital age has made your job search easier in some ways, it can make it more challenging in others. Employers routinely research candidates on LinkedIn and other social media sites as part of their pre-selection process. Consequently, it’s important to ensure that all profiles and posts are professional and match the information on your submitted resume.
7. Fit the mold. While some jobs require the formality and standard resume templates your parents used, other employers may embrace creativity! While there are no black and white lines on this topic, realize that it may be a great move to submit something different than what every other candidate does. So perhaps, instead of a Resume you decide to submit a business plan and a one paragraph biography of yourself.
8. Submit a Resume circa 1990. Much like everything else in the world over the past two decades, the rules have changed for Resumes. While some professionals still feel there is value in an objective statement, others recommend removing it completely. Why? Because realistically the employer is more concerned with their objective (finding the perfect employee) than yours anyway. Also, home addresses are now frequently replaced by LinkedIn and Twitter profile links.
While there’s no guarantee you will be called for an interview, avoiding these “Deadly 8” should give you a better shot that your resume will stay on the recruiters desk…instead of their wastebasket!