Having a perfect resume doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll land your dream job. However, a poorly crafted resume always guarantees an application ending up in the rejection file. Today, recruiters have to review hundreds and thousands of candidates’ resumes and find the perfect fit for a role in the company. This means that even the slightest mistake can become a deal-breaker. You don’t just want your resume to be perfect but also compelling enough for them to give you an interview call.
Over 70 percent of the recruiters say that they reject even before completing the application process if they find mistakes in the resume. This means that any typing error, structure mistake, or lack of information in your resume can lead to rejection.
Resume writing is a skill achieved over a certain period. This is why we recommend entry-level job seekers consult with a professional resume writer to ensure that their resume is good enough to make a lasting impression on hiring managers.
To secure your dream job, you’ll need to put in the extra work to wow the recruiter and proofread it enough to ensure that your resume is error-free. Here are the most common resume mistakes that you should be aware of.
The perfect resume must have an organized structure that makes it easy to read and skimmable. If your resume is unorganized and your skillsets are mentioned before your education or work experience, it will fail to make a positive impression on the recruiter.
Unless you’re a freelancer, your education or work experience must always be on the top after your resume’s summary/objectives section.
While screening your resume, hiring managers always look for the most relevant information to be at the top. Work experience is where most recruiters spend their time during the review.
If you’re a student or writing an entry-level resume, you can out your academic qualifications and other contributions, such as campus involvement and campaign developments, followed by your skillsets and other competencies.
As a professional, you should always try to keep your resume length brief. Even if you have a lot of information, ensure that the length doesn’t exceed two pages. Customize your resume before applying for a role and only include the most relevant information.
Recruiters often decide during the first few seconds of screening your resume. Halfway through the resume, they already know if you’re going to be a good fit for the role or not. Hence, it’s always good to keep things brief and to the point.
Lack of Quantifiable Data
One of the things that most recruiters look out for in a resume is numbers and metrics. Including quantifiable data while mentioning your contributions in your previous work will give them a good idea of how you will impact their organization.
Numbers and metrics in your resume show the impact your hiring will have on their company. It also displays your capabilities and skills.
Here are two examples of resume accomplishments:
- “My responsibilities included maintaining the records and field measurements while tracking projects using Microsoft Suite and developing digital material take-offs.”
- “Initiated and developed a strong tracking system for the Water Treatment Plant and Decontamination Project while saving over $230,000 by reducing workers’ allocation time by 35%.”
Both of these employee contributions sound impressive; however, the second one gives recruiters a better idea of how hiring you will benefit them.
Vague Employment Dates
Another thing that is a deal-breaker among employers is vague employment dates in your resume. If your employment date doesn’t include a month or year, they’ll automatically assume that the candidate is trying to hide a gap in employment. Assuming the worst, they will reject your resume as they’ll suspect you’re being dishonest.
The employment dates in your resume should be clear and in chronological form. Candidates with more than five years of work experience are encouraged to only include the most relevant information (i.e., don’t include work experience more than three to seven years old.)
Having said that, mention the most recent work experience on top, so the recruiters are clear about your accomplishments and skillsets.
Another grave mistake that most entry-level and executive-level resume writers make is letting inconsistencies in date and typos slip.
While you may think it shouldn’t affect your chance of getting hired because it’s not related to your job, these inconsistencies show hiring managers that you’re reckless and lack attention to detail.
Inconsistencies in the work experience and qualification section of the resume lead to immediate rejection by most recruiters.
Here is a list of a few obvious skillsets that you should avoid mentioning in your resume:
- Microsoft Word
- Computer skills
- Internet basics
These are the skills that your recruiter is already expecting you to possess. Therefore, you no longer need to include them in your resume. Instead, you can use the skills section to highlight the following relevant skills:
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Google Analytics
- Graphic Designing
These advanced technical skills will impress your recruiter and show them you have what it takes to perform the required tasks after hiring.
Lack of Action Verbs
Another resume deal-breaker that most resume writers aren’t aware of is missing active verbs. Choosing weak verbs while describing your work experience and accomplishment wouldn’t paint the picture you want. It wouldn’t inspire hiring managers to give you a call and go forward with your application.
Don’t include weak verbs such as ‘helped or ‘aided’. Use the following active verbs in your resume:
If you led a project:
If you saved company resources:
If you increase company revenue:
If you sourced funding:
Unless advised otherwise, don’t include your personal hobbies!
When it comes to professionals with years of experience on hand, including hobbies like swimming or reading a book seems unnecessary. Your hiring manager doesn’t need to know which shows you enjoy in your free time or what books you read growing up.
There’s plenty of time to learn about your interests outside of work and other hobbies. At the initial stages of job application, the only thing that hiring managers want to learn is if you will be a good fit in their company.
Your accomplishments, education, and work experience are what you need to emphasize and highlight the most in your resume to stand out among the pool of applicants. Unless relevant to your field, steer clear of hobbies and other personal interests.
Sending the Same Resume Everywhere
Another thing you need to keep in mind while crafting your resume is that you need to tailor your resume according to the job description before sending it out.
Using the same resume for every job application will reduce your chances of getting hired. Recruiters aren’t impressed by a generalized resume as it shows you have no interest in the role that they’re offering.
The perfect resume doesn’t just impress the hiring manager, but it also shows them that you’re interested in the position being offered. Employers like to see that you’ve put effort into resume writing.
Customize every resume by using the job description and researching the company’s website, and learning about its mission and values. You can then use that information and align them with your goals and passions in life.
Font and Formatting
Using complex font and format will only confuse hiring managers. Recruiters like a resume that is simple and easy to read. They don’t spend more than six to seven seconds reviewing one resume. This means you have very little time to make an impression, and if the formatting is hindering it, you will lose your chance.
Using the wrong format can also make your resume aesthetically unappealing. You don’t want to overwhelm the recruiter by distracting them with fancy fonts and colored formatting. Keep things straightforward.
Lying on The Resume
Careless mistakes are one thing, and outright lying is another. Making things up about your experience, education, or skillsets will make your resume seem shady. An experienced recruiter with a keen eye will know when a candidate lies on their resume.
Even if you managed to get through the resume review process and got the interview call, you would surely get caught in the interview process.
Some fabrications are more serious than others, such as lying about your alma mater. Recruiters can easily call the institution and verify your degree. They can also confirm the details of your work experience. If caught lying, this may lead to serious repercussions. It could also lead to you getting blacklisted from your desired industry.
Arguably, one of the most common resume mistakes is bad grammar or typos due to a lack of proofreading. Once you’re done writing your resume, you need to read it repeatedly to ensure there aren’t any inconsistencies or spelling errors.
While reviewing your resume, employers don’t just look for your work experience; they’re also testing how detail-oriented you are. The spelling errors in your resume show that you’re sloppy and unprofessional.
Prevent grammatical and spelling errors by proofreading your resume and asking a friend to check your work. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can catch mistakes you may have overlooked.
Unoriginal Profile Picture
Most talent recruiters say that including a picture in the resume is no longer a necessity. Since recruiters can now access candidates’ social media profiles, applicants don’t have to include a picture unless advised otherwise. Sometimes adding a picture can work against you, resulting in unconscious bias.
If the job listing specifically mentions adding a picture with your resume, make sure it’s a professional photo. Avoid using selfies or filtered images for your resume.
Not Emphasizing Your Strengths
Many job seekers don’t realize the importance of highlighting competencies and strengths in a resume. Every section of your resume must emphasize your strengths, such as the qualities and traits that make you a good candidate.
Some important strengths that you can emphasize are leadership skills, teamwork, and communication abilities. Instead of listing your past experiences, describe how you used your strengths to accomplish something in your previous workplace.
Inappropriate Email Address
An inappropriate or unprofessional email address can easily throw off the hiring manager. Having a professional email address is essential. Far too many job seekers use the same email address they created in high school.
An unprofessional email address shows that you’re not serious about the role offered. Before submitting your resume, make sure you create a professional email address that hiring managers can use to contact you or send you interview call details.
Plagiarizing the Descriptions
Another common mistake that job seekers make during the resume writing process is copy-pasting job descriptions. Most descriptions on the internet are general descriptions that hiring managers aren’t interested in.
Most recruiters are interested in learning how you contributed to your previous role and what makes you a good candidate.
Ideal Resume Sample
Hire a Professional Resume Writer
If you want to stand out among other candidates, we’d suggest you hire a professional resume writer. A professional resume writer is someone who can provide high-quality content.
Most applicants get rejected not because they’re unqualified but solely because they didn’t communicate their skills and qualifications appropriately. A professional resume writer can help you write an effective resume while keeping abreast of the industry trends.
Head over to The Resume Store to get off to a great start. Their professional writers have years of experience in the HR and talent recruitment arenas. They offer services like resume writing service, cover letter writing, government resume writing, LinkedIn profile optimization, and much more.
You can also check out The Get-A-Job Manual by The Resume Store’s founder, Arnie Sherr.
Check out their samples and contact their team for a free consultation today!