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Most Common Resume Mistakes

Your resume is the first impression a potential employer has of you and making one of the resume mistakes we talk about can be an instant disqualifier. Some employers admit to discarding a resume if they find even one grammatical or spelling error. A recruiter starts with a massive stack of applicants and resumes to go through which means their starting focus is on rejecting applicants. To make their job easier, the recruiter will look for the smallest mistake or reason to disqualify you. Help your chances and avoid these common resume mistakes.

Spelling and Grammar

The number one disqualifier for any resume is the presence of spelling or grammatical errors. A resume with incorrect spelling or grammar tells a recruiter that you lack attention to detail and the ability to proof-read. These are key skills for any employer, which is why if an applicant shows they don’t possess them, it is an instant ‘no’ for the recruiter.

  1. Personal Pronouns – One very common mistake seen on resumes is the use of personal pronouns. Your resume should never include the words “I,” “you,” “she,” or “he.”
  2. Incorrect Tense – This should go without saying, but when you describe a past position, make sure you use past tense. As well, when you describe a current position, be sure to use the present tense. Recruiters pay attention to details like that, and incorrect use of tenses can put you in the fast lane to rejection.

Format

The layout and format of your resume need to be clear, clean, and concise. The recruiter needs to be able to quickly skim over your resume and identify your strengths, experience, and the type of position you would be a good fit for. There are several mistakes you can make when formatting your resume.

1. Too much text

I get it, your resume is the only tool you have to impress the recruiter and land the first interview, so you want to put as much information about yourself as possible to paint the biggest picture for the recruiter. However, putting too much text on your resume can result in the opposite. By decreasing the margins and text size and crunching as many words as you can onto the page, you might overwhelm the recruiter and land your resume instantly in the ‘no’ pile. The recruiter is only going to spend about 30 seconds looking at your resume. They want to be able to glance through it and be able to identify the key points.

2. Too many bullets

On the other side of the spectrum, you can use too few sentences and too many bullets. An overuse of bullets causes the recruiter’s eyes to glaze over the same as long paragraphs of text. Bullets are meant to be used for important information, so if everything is bulleted, then everything is important, and if everything is important, then nothing really stands out. Use bullets to highlight your responsibilities at previous positions and important skills you want the recruiter to notice.

3. No keywords

Every job posting will have keywords about the job requirements and skills the applicant needs to have. Recruiters are looking for those specific words when they are scanning your resume. If they don’t see any correlation or overlap between your resume and their job description, they are moving on. People tend to think they can send the same resume on every application, but that is a huge misconception. You should rewrite your resume for every job you apply for. Reword your experience and skills to include keywords from the job description. Recruiters want to know that you have the specific experience and skills they are looking for and doing this will make sure you stand out.

4. Hard to read font

This is one of the easiest resume mistakes to fix. Stay away from cursive and italic fonts. Choose something simple and easy to read, not just printed by digitally. Many resumes are reviewed online now, and some fonts are more difficult to read online than they are when they are printed. Test out different fonts to find one that you like but also works printed and digitally.

Professionalism

Your resume should show that you are a qualified professional and you take your career seriously. There are two ways that you can unintentionally tell the recruiter something different.

  1. Unprofessional email address – The email address you provide on your resume is a large indicator of your professionalism. We all have our first email address, but that doesn’t have to be the one on your resume. If your email is LadyKiller@hotmail.com or iheartjustinbieber77@gmail.com, then it is time for an update. I recommend having an email address that is your name. You can add numbers if just your name is not available, but make sure they are not inappropriate. The good news is, making a new email is completely free.
  2. Irrelevant social media URLs – In some positions, it would be beneficial to include links to your social media profiles. However, your social media is not relevant to all positions. Unless you are applying to a position where you will be required to write, manage social media, or be in the public’s eye as a representative of the company, there is little need for a link to your Facebook page. If your accounts are full of inappropriate or offensive content, it will do more harm to include your URLs.

If you want more resume help, we hosted a Facebook Live Resume Workshop. Watch the video here.

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