Is Your Resume Holding You Back? Avoid These 5 Mistakes
Your resume is the first impression you leave with a potential employer, and that impression determines whether or not you get a shot at an interview. Since most hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less reviewing a resume before deciding whether to throw it in the rubbish bin or not, your focus should be on ensuring that your resume effectively grabs the attention of the hiring manager in that short window of time.
To improve your chances of standing out from the crowd and landing an interview, make sure your resume isn’t guilty of these five common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Sacrificing quality for quantity. With stacks of resumes to look through, hiring managers need to be able to quickly identify whether or not you’re a match for their position. Flooding your resume with your entire work history will only make it difficult for your qualifications to shine through. That said, list only the skills and experiences that relate to job itself and keep your resume to one page – two pages at the absolute max. It’s helpful to think of your resume as a marketing piece used to “advertise” to potential employers why they should hire you for the job.
Mistake #2: Assuming one size fits all. Even if you’re searching for a specific type of job, your resume should still be customized to every position you apply for. For instance, two companies may both be looking for an Administrative Assistant, however one may be after a more team-oriented individual and the other seeking someone who can work independently. Different companies call on different areas of your background and your resume should be tailored accordingly. And if you include a cover letter, always remember to update the address information. Nothing could be worse than sending a cover letter to Company A that’s addressed to Company B.
Mistake #3: Spelling and grammar errors. As obvious as it may sound, spelling and grammar mistakes still plague the resumes of many jobseekers. Though an overlooked comma or misspelled word may seem like an innocent, harmless mistake, to a hiring manager it conveys an inattentiveness to detail. Do yourself a favor and get a fresh pair of eyes to proofread your resume. You can also try changing the font or the order that you read your resume to help bring out any errors that you may have missed.
Mistake #4: Listing duties instead of accomplishments. Your resume shouldn’t be a series of job descriptions. Change the language on your resume from responsibility-driven to accomplishment-driven. Potential employers are less concerned about the actual tasks you’ve completed and more interested how you’ve excelled in those roles. They want to know what you bring to the table and how your past achievements will translate into success for their company.
Mistake #5: Fudging the truth. Embellishing the truth, half-truths, bluffing, fibbing—whatever you want to call it, lying on a resume is never a good idea. Chances are you’ll either get caught in a lie that you’ll have to embarrassingly explain (potential employers make notes of these sorts of things), or you’ll end up in a job that you just don’t have the skills to fill, and ultimately back on the job market. If you don’t have the qualifications for a specific job, reposition the skills that you do have in a way that makes you a contender. Or consider taking the necessary steps to gain those qualifications – potential employers will notice.