Your resume is the first point of contact that you have with a potential employer, and you want it to make an impression. The thing is, you want it to be an overwhelmingly positive impression, and you want that feeling to stay with the employer until they get the opportunity to interview (and hopefully hire!) you. Hiring managers and employers see hundreds of resumes when looking for new employees and quickly become adept at filtering through them and being able to tell the good from the bad in a split second. For this reason, you need to make sure that your resume is not being put into the “bad” pile. Here are five mistakes to avoid, so you can create the stand-out resume you need.
Poorly Formatting Your ResumeIt is true that the content of your resume is what matters and that a good resume is not the one with the most interesting font or best layout. However, the way you present information on your resume matters; a poorly formatted resume could affect how enthusiastic an employer is about reading it. You don’t need bright colors or different fonts and graphics. You just need formatting techniques like bullet points and clear headings to ensure that all the information is easy to understand. Anything over-the-top will distract from the information.
Being Too GenericOne big mistake you can make is having one generic resume that you send off every time you’re interested in a job. Your resume should be tailored to the job you’re applying for to demonstrate to the employer that you are passionate about that particular company and role, rather than just looking for any job. Using a lot of clichés and failing to include keywords that appeared in the job ad is an immediate indication to employers that you haven’t considered the ways in which you are suited to the position being advertised. To avoid this, read the job requirements carefully and reflect on how your own experience may help you in fulfilling the tasks of that job. Research the company and get an idea of its culture and values. Using this information, you can create a resume that shows the company you are the best fit for the role.
Making Spelling Mistakes and Grammatical ErrorsA resume littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors is an instant turn-off to an employer. It suggests a lack of professionalism and attention to detail, and these are both things that that will suggest to a hiring manager that you are not the top talent they are looking for. Regardless of the job you’re applying for, mistakes of this kind indicate sloppiness and instantly discredit the rest of your resume, no matter how impressive your experience might be. To prevent this, have a friend or family member proofread your resume. A fresh set of eyes is more likely to catch any errors you may have missed. Triple-check everything before you send it off to an employer.
Listing Only Your Duties and ResponsibilitiesWhen looking at your past experience, employers don’t just want to know what sort of tasks you did, they also want to get a sense of the impact you had and your biggest achievements. Listing only your duties and responsibilities won’t give the potential employer a sense of what you are like as an employee and if you added value to your role. At the end of the day, it is your accomplishments that differentiate you from candidates with similar experience. Rather than listing your responsibilities, write short, punchy sentences about how you made a difference and executed your objectives in each of your previous positions.
Not Showing Your PersonalityWhile your resume should be a professional and formal document, you should also try to inject a little bit of your personality into it. While employers are looking for candidates with relevant experience, they also need someone who is going to fit with the company culture and work well with their team members, and a lot of this is to do with your personality. By talking about what you do in your free time, describing personal achievements or projects, or simply having a bit more personality in your description of your accomplishments, you can show an employer what kind of person you are.
Resumes are one way for employers to assess if you’re suitable for the job. Ideally, your resume should give the employer a feel for who you are as well as tangible evidence that you can achieve the results they need. While you may have amazing interview skills, you won’t get to the interview stage without a good resume. Avoid the mistakes above and you will increase your chances of getting there.