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Top 10 Resume Mistakes You Didn’t Realize You’re Making

resume mistakes

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Creating a strong resume is one of the keys to getting a great job. No matter how impressive you might be in person, you’ll never land an interview if what they see on paper is a mess.

But how can you know if your resume is good or not? You’ve come to the right place for answers.

Resume mistakes can spell disaster for anyone in the hunt for a new job. You’d probably be shocked to know just how ruthlessly you’re judged by the information presented on this simple document. Let’s take a look at some common mistakes you can avoid that will help make sure that your resume stands out from the crowd!

Top 10 Resume Mistakes You Didn’t Realize You’re Making

There are probably mistakes you’re making on your resume that you don’t even realize. Read on to learn about the top resume mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Typos and Grammatical Errors

This is just a big fat ugly no-no. In this age of spell-check, there is simply no excuse to have a resume that looks like it was typed by a blindfolded pre-schooler.

First of all, you need to take your resume seriously. After all, if you don’t care enough to create a document that’s free of spelling and grammatical mistakes, you probably aren’t the right person for the job.

Your resume is your calling card. This is where you make your first impression, and first impressions are everything, especially when pursuing employment.

You can pretty much count on the fact that a resume littered with typos will be fed straight into the paper shredder. And there’s no reason to wait by the phone for a job offer.

Read through it carefully. Then run it through spell-check on your computer, and even use the Hemingway App website to make sure your grammar is as perfect as possible.

2. Failing to Highlight Your Accomplishments

Always remember that the purpose of your resume is to sell yourself. This is your chance to highlight your accomplishments and make yourself stand out above the stack of resumes from other job candidates.

Avoid the impulse to highlight your duties at previous at jobs you’ve held. Instead, focus on accomplishments and achievements to show exactly what you’re capable of.

Remember that employers really don’t care about the details of your tasks as much as they are the big picture stuff. Don’t be shy. And don’t hesitate to strut your stuff. Employers want to believe that they will be getting someone special if they hire you.

Every resume can start looking the same after awhile. People with the same skills describing the same responsibilities. Use your resume to brag about yourself, and allow yourself to shine. You’ll be surprised how this will make a potential employer sit up and take notice.

3. A Lack of Action Verbs

This is a key mistake many people make when putting together their resume. Keep in mind that word choice has a huge impact on tone. Rather than using phrases like “responsible for”, use action verbs that better emphasize your initiative while on the job.

For example, use words like “increased”, “developed”, and “programmed” to convey your achievements. This is a subtle yet effective way to flex your muscles on the page.

4. Avoid Being Long-Winded

The truth is there isn’t any rule governing resume length. It really comes down to a matter of preference on the part of the employer, as well as how much space each job candidate needs to fully and accurately sell themselves.

Rambling on and on will bore the reader. Learn how to be brief. Every word needs to matter. Remember, this isn’t your life story.

And yet, there’s also no need to cut things too short. Give enough detail for the reader to get a clear picture of who you are and what you have to offer.

A lot of people believe it’s imperative to limit your resume to a maximum of two pages. But this rule is certainly not written in stone. Generally speaking, make an effort to cut the fat and resist the impulse to send out a five-page resume, yet don’t hesitate to include anything you believe adds value.

5. A Lack of Specifics

Try to avoid stating the obvious. Your resume should help the employer have a clear understanding of your work history and all the things you’ve accomplished.

Whatever positions you’ve held in the past, make the most of describing them. Rather than simply stating that you worked in an office setting, paint a more complete picture. Fill in details such as, “you recruited and supervised dozens of employees at a company with billions of dollars in annual revenue.”

This sounds much more impressive and is truthful. It also gives a better perspective on what you are capable of and the level of responsibility you can be entrusted with.

The more specific you can be, the better. These are the kinds of details that can help set you apart from other applicants.

6. Sending the Same Resume to Every Employer

A great way to make a big impression on an employer is to make them feel like you created your resume specifically for them. This shows that you did some research into their company and learned some important specifics about the way their organization operates.

An interviewer can spot a generic resume from a mile away. When you send the exact same resume to every place you apply, it shows. It shows a lack of care and lack of initiative.

Keep in mind that most resumes that employers receive are generic. Thus, even a small amount of special effort can make a huge impression.

7. A Bad Summary

It’s important to remember that employers are very busy people. This means it’s very likely that not every resume will receive the full attention it deserves. Resumes tend to get skimmed, thus the quality of your summary is important.

Give the employer some juicy details. The vaguer your summary, the vaguer their impression of you will be.

Even though your resume will contain a complete itemization of every position you’ve held, a full list of impressive accomplishments, and a detailed description of your education and knowledge base, all of this might be simply skimmed by a busy interviewer.

The purpose of the summary is to boil down all the details of your life and career into an easily digestible paragraph offering an overview of your skills and qualifications.

8. Your Resume Looks Too Busy

Take a look at your resume. We don’t mean read. Just look at it. Do you find it visually attractive?

This might seem like a silly question, but the physical appearance of the page can have a major impact on what it says about you.

Look at the layout. Each of the sections should be well-organized with proper spacing. Also pay close attention to the font you use, as well as font size.

Don’t use five or six different fonts. Nothing looks less professional than a resume with a variety of fonts, font sizes, or different text colors. After all, this is a business document, not personal stationery. This is not the time or place to express your creativity.

9. Leaving Out Information

Your resume should provide a complete snapshot of everything you need to sell yourself to an employer. And yet a detail that may sound impressive to others may not sound as impressive to you. Resist the temptation to leave out certain jobs or achievements that might seem too unimportant to mention, or may result in employment gaps on the resume.

For example, part-time jobs you had during school might not seem worth mentioning. Yet you might have learned an important skill or made a vital networking contact that could be of value to your career somewhere down the line.

Just keep in mind that there’s no magic formula to knowing how far to go back on a resume.

10. Inaccurate Contact Information

This might seem like such a silly and simple detail, but you’d be amazed by the number of people who don’t include the correct contact information.

References on a resume are a big deal. It really doesn’t matter where you claim to have worked or how impressive your background sounds if it can’t be verified. This is why both personal and professional references are typically included on your resume.

Common mistakes such as failing to include contact phone numbers with corresponding names, putting the wrong names and numbers together, or simply including a wrong digit in a number.

Take the time to get this information right. It’s such a simple step and yet so important to the overall quality of your resume.

The Secrets to an Impressive Resume

Resume mistakes are always avoidable. It’s as simple as that. Learning what a strong resume should look like and what it should contain is half the battle.

A good resume will speak volumes about you. Study resumes online. Learn what is standard for your industry, and take the time to polish yours so that you can put your best foot forward.

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