There are countless articles out there about resume mistakes but I’m hoping this one will provide you with some new information on some mistakes you may have overlooked.
1. Not Customizing Your Resume
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you must customize your resume for each and every position you apply to.
Photocopying your resume 100 times and repeatedly sending it out says, “I don’t care enough to put in the effort to find out what this position is all about so I can promote my most applicable qualities.” If you are applying to several positions in the same field then you won’t have to do a major overhaul of your resume each time, small changes may be all that is necessary. However, if you are applying for completely different positions then you must tailor your resume to match the job.
2. A resume That Is Too Broad
Your resume should be as specific as possible to the position to which you are applying. I often work with clients that have a varied background and want their resume to reflect all of their skills; however a resume that doesn’t focus on one particular industry will confuse a hiring manager and leave them asking, “What exactly does this person want to do?” For example, if a client has experience in retail management, graphic design, and customer service and they wanted to apply for a retail position I would advise focusing on their retail and customer service experience.
3. No Title
A title on your resume tells the reader up front exactly what it is you do. i.e. Employee Focused Human Resources Specialist, Enthusiastic Professional Development Trainer, Visionary Operations Executive. Don’t make them guess what it is you do and eliminate any confusion by giving your resume a strong title.
4. Including an Objective Statement
Objective statements are outdated and have been replaced by a career summary section. Objective statements were used as a way to convey what the job seeker was looking for in a position when instead they should have been promoting what it was they could do for the employer. Who wants to hire someone who starts out their resume by telling you what it is they want? They are much more likely to hire someone who starts off by telling the employer what value they will bring to the position and how that will benefit the organization.
5. Printing on Plain White Paper (and Making Copies of Your Resume)
There is a reason for resume paper and coordinating envelopes – it just looks better! Yes, regardless of the paper you use to print your resume, the information is going to be the same, but presentation counts for a lot. On the same note, don’t print out one copy of your resume and then photocopy the rest. Print out all copies individually using the best setting on your printer. Trust me, it makes a difference.
6. Getting Personal
Your resume should be strictly professional. This means no pictures, personal details, links to your Facebook page, hobbies, or interests. If it doesn’t have to do with the job then leave it off. I’ve seen too many resumes that include completely irrelevant or inappropriate details.
7. “I” Statements
A resume should not be written in first person; this means no “I” statements. On a resume it is acceptable to write in fragments. For example, instead of saying, I contributed to the $10M annual revenue through strategic business development and account management you could say, Significant contributor to $10M annual revenue through strategic business development and account management.
8. An Ugly Resume
Many things contribute to the overall appearance of a resume: font, format, text. Choose a font that is easy to read, stay away from script or very small font and anything else that could make reading it difficult. Likewise, a confusing format can turn off your reader; if they cannot find the information they need they might stop trying and move on to the next resume. Ideally, the format should draw the reader to the most important details. Additionally, too much text can overwhelm your reader and hide the most relevant information. You don’t need to include every last detail; stick to the big stuff and leave the details for the interview.
9. Including References
References do not belong on your resume and should never be included unless specifically asked for. If references are requested they should be on a separate references page that is formatted to match your resume. I advise clients to bring a reference page to an interview just in case, but if they don’t ask for it then don’t offer.
10. Not Labeling All Pages of Your Resume
If your resume is more than one page make sure you label all additional pages with your name, contact information, and page number. Things happen, pages get mixed up or misplaced, having this info on every page makes it easier for an employer to identify a resume as yours.
by Megan Koehler