How To Avoid the Most Common Mistakes Seen in Resumes (and land that dream job)

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When you’re applying for jobs, one of the first things you’re likely to organise is your resume. This acts as the first point of contact between you and employer, and a poorly built CV is going to create a poor impression about you and what you have to offer. If you’re looking to start on the job hunt, be sure to avoid some of these key mistakes seen on many resumes.

What are the most common mistakes seen on resumes?

Typos

Although it may seem obvious, typing mistakes and spelling errors are quite common in resumes. They’re also a devastating mistake to make – they lower the quality of your resume, and show you don’t pay attention to detail. They are also a simple mistake to rectify. Before you start sending out your resume, be sure to proofread it and check for spelling errors. If you’re unsure, get a friend or family member to take a read over it as well. Hitting the spell check button isn’t enough because there can be grammatical errors that aren’t picked up. If possible, read your resume backwards – from bottom to top. This can help you spot spelling errors a lot easier – as you are forced not to skim over words.

Formatting

Sure, you’re going to send your resume via email to several different recipients, but avoid copying and pasting along the way – this can lead to formatting issues that aren’t apparent until the email is sent. Everything might look good on your end and then, when it is sent and opened with a different software, suddenly it becomes garbled, misaligned and hard to read. A potential employer isn’t going to spend time trying to fix it and work out which program to use to look at your resume properly – they’ll likely just delete the email.

Be sure to check your resume attachment opens in both Word and Google Docs, and that it looks aligned and professional in both programs. If possible, send your resume as a pdf file instead. No matter what the file type, be sure to use font style and size that is easy to read and consistent throughout the document. Avoid fancy curved fonts – they may look ice but they’re often hard to read!

Length

Many people create a resume in order to make a good impression and to help the employer to say “yes” to giving you a job. But, that’s what the interview is for. Your resume is simply a way to get to the interview stage – keep it straight, to the point and with information that is relevant to the job role you are applying for. As a rule of thumb, your resume should be approximately one page per ten years of experience. It should be straightforward and demonstrate your ability to prioritise and display the most important details about your experiences. Once you have landed the interview, that’s when you can elaborate on certain points, and go into further specifics where necessary.

Confidentiality

Depending on the role you are applying for and your past experiences, you need to ensure you’re not breaching confidentiality agreements in talking about clients you deal with, or the work you’ve done for specific organisations. Sometimes revealing too much about the people you’ve worked with in your resume can paint your professionalism in a poor light – a prospective employee might not hire you because they don’t want their own secrets revealed by you to other future employers. Plus you can quickly lose your integrity and trustworthiness if you start spreading secrets.

Lies

Although in the past you may have heard of people putting a few white lies on their resume to get ahead, the truth is, it’s not going to work. Today, it is so easy to track down a person online, view their social media accounts, and track their profile. As well as this, references and universities can be contacted rather easily. Lying about your sales results, or your work in certain situations, is likely going to come back and haunt you if it’s untrue. People at all levels in the workplace have been fired for lies they have told. It’s easy to get caught and it’s best to keep things honest.

Using an outdated resume

You need to ensure the resume you’re handing out is up-to-date, not just with details of your work experience, but also your skills, knowledge-base and contact details. Don’t undersell yourself by forgetting to add new skills and side projects you’ve been working on.

How to nail your next resume

Now you’re across the most common mistakes employees encounter when reviewing resumes from job applicants, we have a few tips to ensure your resume is not only mistake-free – it’s also the best it can be.

Write for the job

If you’re applying for a job that is full-time, having an objective statement in your resume that states you’re only looking for casual work isn’t exactly going to work. Write your resume for the job you are applying for. It can be as easy as reading over your resume each time you send it to a potential employer and ensuring your resume is in line with the job description you’re applying for.

Include awards you have achieved

Don’t be shy to show off your achievements. You’ve worked hard to gain these results, so be sure to let people know about them. Including an ‘Awards and Achievements’ section on your resume shows that you’re driven to succeed and shows that you’re willing to work hard for reward.

Include an online profile

Today, the Internet is a major part of everyday life. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned worker looking to advance your career, a great piece of information to include on your resume is a link to an online profile such as a LinkedIn account. Here, potential employers can see your online presence, job experience and other information not listed on your resume.

Include your computer skills

Again, technology is always improving and your skills should reflect your ability to work with new technologies as you go. Add in a section displaying the computer skills you’re comfortable with (remember, don’t lie!). You might think you can only use MS Word, but have a really hard think about what you’re comfortable using and include it. It can be as simple as including MS Excel, Google Chrome and Docs or Photoshop.

Highlight your accomplishments

An employer will likely already know what you can do based on your position at a previous firm, but what did you achieve whilst there? It can be a lot better writing in what you accomplished during your previous role, rather than what your job description is/was.

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