Top 10 Mistakes That Could Be in Your Resume
By Jamison Barry
While it could take you hours to refine your resume, it only takes a recruiter six seconds to decide if they want to read it. It’s a small window that some don’t get through, and usually that’s because they’ve made one or two mistakes that stuck out like a sore thumb. Even if you’re qualified for the job, someone else could present themselves as a better candidate.
If you want to ensure you ‘wow’ a recruiter and get a foot in the door, here are 10 mistakes that might be in your resume and stopping you from getting that job.
It’s an obvious one, yes, but by far one of the most important things that recruiters pay attention to. Why? Not everyone has a gift for words, and mistakes can be difficult to spot within a lot of text. Keeping mistakes out of your resume is a subtle way to show off your attention to detail. When a recruiter spots a mistake, they can be misled into thinking you don’t actually care about the job itself.
Regardless of your qualifications or experience, if recruiters see that your email is ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ there’s a pretty good chance they’re not going to consider your resume, at all. If you only have one email address and it doesn’t simply state your name, get yourself another.
Recruiters don’t want to get bogged down reading about your life story. Keep things relevant to the role being applied for. Sometimes one or two bullet points on personal interests can add colour to the resume and make it memorable to the reader.
One of the best things about your experience, in general, is that your skills are transferrable. Have you ever been in charge of organising or managing a few people for a simple task? Congratulations, you’ve been a team leader. The problem lies in that most people don’t tailor their experience to the job they’re applying for. The best way to do this is to thoroughly read through the job listing – think about the jobs responsibilities and how you’ve already handled some or all of those responsibilities in your past work experience.
Have you ever looked at an ad and thought; ‘god, that’s all over the place.’ The same applies to your resume. You need to treat your resume as an advertisement – because you’re advertising yourself. This means that your resume can’t have titles and subtitles that are 24pts. in size and with six different fonts and typefaces. You never want the size to be more that 14 at most, and that’s just for your headings. Keep the font simple and easy to read, recruiters are not going to change the typeface just to read your resume.
Unless you have had a career spanning a vast number of different companies and job roles, your resume should never be longer than 2-5 pages, though this could vary depending on what level of position you are applying for. Generally though, your resume needs to be simple and concise – your education, qualifications, experience, and skills. Recruiters don’t need to know every detail of your degree, or every minute aspect of a job you had ten years ago.
Professional summaries are in. When you apply for a job, recruiters don’t need to see a subtitle under your name that says; ‘I’m looking for a job at your company.’ They know, because you’ve applied. However, the new trend of a professional summary is a good way to use your resume to introduce yourself, especially if a cover letter is not applicable. It gives the recruiter a small snapshot of your attitude and your professional experience. A professional summary should include your most recent role, your key skills, and what you offer to the company.
If you’re applying for a job as a consultant, recruiters for that role don’t really see the connection between that and your last summer job as a barista. Keep your experience relative to the job, or a recruiter isn’t going to consider you as a serious candidate.
A common mistake for job seekers is not including experience that they weren’t paid for – such as organising charity events or being involved in volunteer programs. It’s a good way to demonstrate you taking a personal level of initiative, and also gives recruiter’s another glimpse at your personality by way of what you’ve volunteered to help with.
Nothing is more unappealing to the eye than a dense block of text. It’s difficult to read and more than anything else, it immediately turns the eye away. Always make sure your resume is concise – short and sweet, as they say. Any big blocks of text can be sorted into smaller sentences and remember to include paragraph breaks and indent the first line of text! It helps make thicker text look cleaner and is easier to read.
A final word of advice that’s just as important as the advice above: if the cover letter is optional, it’s not really optional for you. Take the time to write one up and impress. It’d be a mistake not to.