In my former life as a recruiter, I have seen hundreds of thousands of resumes and of them, no resume was the same. Long ones, short ones, some as big as your head (for anyone who remembers the lovely bunch of coconuts song)! Even with all these different kinds of resumes, all of them had the same consistent resume mistakes. What most people needed was a resume review, but they are either too scared to do it or they feel the friend who looked it over was…good enough.
Listen, there is nothing wrong with having a few friends look over your resume, I even encourage it. Have as many people as possible look at your resume; the more the merrier! However, in addition to that, it is good to have a professional look over your resume, who knows exactly what it takes to make your resume appealing to the recruiters and hiring managers who will be viewing it.
With that, we’ve compiled a list of the top five resume mistakes for 2013 that you need to fix!
- No Proofreading
Did you hand in papers at school without proofreading? Probably not, because you didn’t want to get a bad grade. Well, why is this different? To a recruiter or hiring manager, there is nothing more disappointing than looking at a great resume and then seeing “detail oriented” spelled wrong! In addition to this, please check your grammar! You must know that Word’s spell-check does not pick up all grammatical errors and because of that you MUST read over your resume. Know the difference between a semicolon and a colon and an apostrophe and no apostrophe.
- Lack Of Specifics
For some reason, people like to be vague on their resume; It needs details! Here is an example. “Manage inventory so customers can always find products” WHAT! Let’s reword that and be a bit more specific. The goal here is take the guesswork out for the reader. This way they know exactly what you do. “Analyze inventory history and customer purchasing patterns to optimize product ordering for maximum revenue and increased customer satisfaction” Now, when you read the second, revised sentence, you think, “Wow! this person is a wizard!”
- Too Much Day-to-Day And No Accomplishments
When people sit down to write their resume, unfortunately, they think of their job responsibilities from the prior week or month. This is, quite-possibly, the worst thing for you. You need to think of everything you have done at that company from day 1. This is why we always recommend keeping a work journal. Every day, write down all the great things you did that day. Not, I went to the bathroom or I talked to my boss. Things like, “I worked with finance today on a budgeting project” or “I made a presentation with IT”. This way after months and years of doing this, you will have every accomplishment and project you ever worked on written down. This serves two purposes! One, for when you are writing your resume or talking about your experience in an interview and two, for raise/promotion time. Don’t think day-to-day, think accomplishments and successes; That is what your resume should comprise of.
- Visually Too Busy
Some people believe the fancier I can be the better. People now have video resumes and resumes created by graphic designers and there is nothing wrong with that! We must all understand that resumes are evolving. However, you must also understand that they are evolving at the pace of a snail. In certain industries and certain professions, creative resumes are absolutely necessary and almost required! But for the majority of us, we need straight forward resumes that highlight our skills and strengths. When the average recruiter is spending 5-7 seconds on your resume, you do not want them to guess where your name is or have to go hunting to find out where you work. If they can’t find it in 1-2 seconds, it is just about a guarantee that they are already on the next resume.
- You Only Have One Resume, Not Five
This is a weird resume mistake, huh? Absolutely not. Let me ask you this. If you were going to church or a wedding, you would wear a dress or suit, right? Would you wear sneakers as well? Or would you find your nicest dress shoes or heels?
The same goes for resumes; there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. You need to create at least 3-5 resumes. Each one should highlight a different skill and target the specific job you are applying for. For example, let’s say I’m creating a resume for a HR professional. They might have one resume for talent acquisition, another for talent management, one for employee relations, then another as an HR Generalist and finally, one as a compensation analyst. See, as an HR professional, you need to have all of these skill sets, however; if they are moving to their next job and want to specialize in a particular area, having a focused resume will allow them to highlight those particular skills. If they are applying for an Employee Relations manager, the new company may not care that you were the best talent acquisition person ever!
If you made it to this far in my article, thank you! To show my thanks to you, I will answer any one resume question you have for free! You can either email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on this article or use the chat feature on the bottom-right. Don’t let resume mistakes get the best of you!
I cannot stress enough. To land your dream job, please have your resume professionally reviewed. The investment will pay itself back a hundred times over.