The 5 Worst Resume Mistakes

The 5 Worst Resume Mistakes

Resumes are usually the first impression job seekers make with a potential employer. They are the foot in the door and the digital equivalent to the initial handshake. However, if you make any of the 5 mistakes below, you can completely ruin any chance of being considered for the position.

Including Too Many Boring Job Descriptions
This is probably one of the most common mistakes people make on their resumes. Let’s say you have been in the same field for about 10 years, recently got laid off, and looking to get back into the same industry as a Sales Executive selling mobile phone products. You start putting together a resume talking about how you prospected for potential clients, cold-called businesses, etc. Now, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes for a minute. When reading this laundry list of duties, they begin to yawn because it is the same stuff they read every day from other candidates and they already know what your general responsibilities are as a Sales Executive for mobile phone products. This does nothing but bore the reader into tossing your resume to the side and moving on to the next candidate who can produce tangible results. Instead of going on and on about how you are able to pick up a phone or communicate well with others, try focusing on the actual results you produced. For example, “Led territory in sales of mobile phone products, generating over $1.2MM in revenue annually” or something to that nature. This will impress the reader and entice them to read further or even immediately motivate them to consider you as a valuable asset to the company.

Making Grammatical Errors
We all make mistakes, but the one skill you should really try to perfect when preparing a resume is your writing skill. You might have made straight A’s in high school or college English classes, but as time passes over the years without writing papers to be graded every day, it becomes more and more difficult to catch little grammatical errors that could put you out of the race. There are several spell-check programs available online, however they don’t always catch certain mistakes. Also, writing resumes requires a very unique style of correspondence that many people find difficult to do when writing about themselves. Unless you are an English expert and grammar connoisseur,  you might want to seek help from a professional resume writing service in this area.

Using the Wrong Keywords
Most resumes today are screened through applicant tracking systems that scan the document for certain keywords that pertain to the requirements of the job HR is looking for in a potential candidate. By not including relevant keywords, you are instantly excluding yourself from being noticed in these computer programs – which may be the reason you are not getting any call backs. Make sure your resume includes important keywords that are relevant to your industry or job title, but don’t overdo it. Many people will take this advice literally and over-stuff their resume with keywords over and over again, thinking it will help them get noticed. This tactic can also dilute the keyword density in your resume, meaning that when the ATS scans the document, it sees too many keywords that are not as important as the ones it is sniffing for. You must have a perfect balance and understand the job you are targeting before you attempt this.

Focusing on Entry-Level Skills
If you’re reading this, more than likely you are a seasoned professional or executive with many years of work experience and accomplishments. As a hiring manager myself, I have seen thousands of resumes come across my desk that include phrases such as “strong interpersonal and communication skills” or “solid organizational and time management abilities” and so on. Now let’s really take a step back and think about this one from a logical standpoint. Isn’t it expected of a child to be able to “communicate” and learn “organization and time management skills” throughout life? So why would anyone think that it is more important to include basic human functions on a resume instead of something more substantial such as “ability to generate multi-million dollars in revenue” or “expertise in leading teams to produce results?” I’ll tell you why – it’s because there is a ton of bad advice on the internet from self-proclaimed experts who are telling job seekers to include generic skills on a resume, which shows they lack any credibility whatsoever when it comes to aggressively competing for a job. Stop focusing on entry-level, generic skills on your resume and include high-level key strengths that show a prospective employer you mean business.

Sloppy Formatting
I always save the best for last, so here it goes. Sloppy resume formatting is the absolute most common mistake that has plagued the job market since the Great Depression. Well maybe not that harsh, but close. The point is, when you submit a resume that lacks proper format and design, you are sending the message that you simply do not care enough about getting the job to put a little more effort into a stellar presentation that will “WOW” the reader. Organized, easy-on-the-eye design is key to making sure important information on the resume will not be missed by the human eye. If you are unable to work with tables, bullets, and charts in a word processing software, you should probably seek help. Correct resume formatting is just as important as any other element on the document.

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