Blunders on your resume that may just cost you that dream job……or any job
1. Letting typos slip through
Possibly the easiest resume blunder to make, letting typos slip through is almost one of the most dangerous. A recent survey indicated that 84% of hiring personnel toss a resume in trash upon spotting just one or two typos! Understand this for what it is: the HR people do not have some type of vendetta against spelling errors in and of themselves. Rather, what they see when they come across as a spelling error is a lack of conscientiousness. They see someone who apparently did not even take their application seriously enough to proofread it before clicking the “Send” button or mailing it in. This isn’t the impression you want to give off, so be sure to eliminate all spelling errors before submitting your resume.
2. Inappropriate e-mail address
It is common today for applicants to leave an e-mail address on their resumes. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, many applicants make the mistake of leaving personal or inappropriate e-mail addresses rather than professional ones. Put yourself into the HR guy’s shoes. You are looking at two very impressive applications, but one them lists their e-mail as “email@example.com” while the other lists theirs as “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Which person are you more likely to hire?
3. Listing irrelevant, non-job-related information
Too many applicants try to get “cute” and show how eclectic they are by listing non-job related information in their resumes. This can be anything from the vacations they’ve taken, the hobbies they enjoy, or even the pets they own! It’s understandable to want to “liven up” your application, but remember this, the HR person who will eventually read it reads thousands of applications each year. They have trained themselves to relentlessly skim through applications searching for only the very relevant details.
4. Poor formatting
Remember that employers and their HR staffs scan resumes. They do not painstakingly read each and every word. Being that this is the case, the best thing you can do is make your resume scannable. This means using one of the many free resume templates that come with Word or that can be downloaded on the Internet. These are the formats employers are used to reading, and it’s one easy way you can take friction and hassle out of their reviewing of your resume. Don’t get “cute” with formatting!
6. Trying to sound “well-rounded”
Some applicants believe they will look better to employers if they seem well-rounded. Such people typically play up how many committees they’ve served on, how many different and varying job titles they’ve held, different industries they’ve worked in, and the like. Unfortunately, this does not work as intended. Most employers see such people as not being great at any one thing, and they are thus unsure of how to evaluate them. Most often, such applicants are simply passed over in favor of those with more specific skillsets.
Of course, the other side of the resume blunder coin are applicants who excessively brag about themselves or their achievements. Again – you do want your resume to make you look like a strong candidate. What you do not want is obnoxious arrogance, as seen in statements like “you will never find a better candidate than me”, or “my job performance is unsurpassed”, or “if you don’t hire me, you’ll regret it!” Such statements make you seem cocky and indicate a potential lack of team spirit
9. Focusing on responsibilities instead of achievements
The best resumes draw attention to what you as an employee have achieved – sales growth, cost-cutting, higher customer retention, etc. The worst resumes talk only or mostly about what responsibilities you have held – manager, committee supervisor, etc. Take a good, hard look at your resume and determine if it is primarily responsibilities or achievements based. If it is not already achievements-based, make sure it is before you send it in to employers!
10. Important skills buried at the bottom
Some otherwise good resumes handicap themselves by listing important skills at the bottom – say, computer skills. It should go without saying that the skills most relevant to the job you want should be listed top, front, and center in your resume. Read over your resume a few times and put yourself in the position of a busy, beleaguered HR person. Would your job-specific skills jump out to them? If not, re-arrange your resume so that they will.
As alluded to earlier, scanability is essential to creating a good resume. One of the most critical elements of scanability is the use of bullet points. Do not make the mistake (which many applicants do) of writing everything in as a “wall” of text, hoping that whomever reads your resume will painstakingly peruse your every word to extract the important parts. They will not. That being the case, be sure to use bullets early and often!