14 Fatal Resume Mistakes
The adage "You never get a second chance to make a first impression" is never truer than when you submit your resume. Because this is likely the first glimpse of you that employers will get, make it an impressive one. A great resume can open a door, but an inferior one can just as quickly close one.
Resume Mistake #1: No cover letter
Yes, you need a cover letter even when you are emailing your resume, posting it to a job board, or sending it electronically. A cover letter is the best place to introduce yourself, identify your goals, and briefly describe why you are a good fit for the position.
Resume Mistake #2: No imagination
Avoid using cookie-cutter resume templates, such as those from Microsoft or other resume-generating programs.
Resume Mistake #3: Too much imagination
Resumes that arrive unconventionally, are on colored or perfumed paper, or have many different fonts in an effort to make them stick out in the crowd will likely go unread. Employers will assume that if you need to resort to these tactics, you probably don't have the qualifications for the job.
Resume Mistake #4: Including an objective statement
This is the best way to paint yourself into a corner, and is not a good way to go if you want the employer to keep you in mind for other positions that you may also be qualified for. Lose the objective statement.
Resume Mistake #5: Typos and grammatical errors
Your resume must be grammatically perfect. Most positions today require good communication and writing skills, and if your resume is riddled with errors, you'll be immediately judged as someone who doesn't possess these basic skills. It stands to reason that if you can't spell "financial analyst" correctly, you have no business being one. Invest in a dictionary and be sure to have your document carefully proofread.
Resume Mistake #6: Your resume is unfocused
Your resume should clearly state what you do, what you are good at, and what you have accomplished. If you are applying for a sales position focus on your numbers and statistics, and give your two years as a veterinary technician a backseat, if any ink at all. If you have a long work history with valuable experience in more than one area, for example, sales and marketing -- it may make sense to craft two resumes: one that focuses on sales, and another that focuses on marketing.
Resume Mistake #7: You list dates first
Statistics show that hiring managers spend just a couple of seconds looking at a resume before deciding whether it warrants a full read, so be sure to show them what they want to see first.
When listing past employment, instead of listing dates first list them last. A good order is: title/position, name of employer, city/state of employer, and then dates.
Resume Mistake #8: Your resume is too short or too long
Contrary to popular opinion you don't need to keep your resume down to one page, especially if you've accrued some work experience. The goal should be to document everything you've done, without being verbose. One page should suffice for entry-level
Resume Mistake #9: Your resume is in paragraph form
Hiring managers have piles of resumes to get through, and most of them are unwilling to struggle through a tough read no matter how qualified the candidate
Resume Mistake #10: Too much focus on past, irrelevant job descriptions
Employers don't care what duties were assigned to you in your past jobs. All they are really concerned about is what you have done, and what you can do for them.
Resume Mistake #11: Too much personal information
If you choose to put hobbies and interests on your resume, use them sparingly and choose them carefully to ensure they are not potentially controversial or offensive, or worthy of chuckles or eye rolling.
Including that you enjoy tennis, reading, and rock climbing is fine. Stating that you knit sweaters for your ferret in your spare time is TMI, unless you are applying for a job knitting pet apparel.
Resume Mistake #12: You are obviously not qualified
Some people do this believing that it's a way to get their foot into the door of a company they would really like to work for. But employers find this a waste of their time, and are annoyed by this practice.
If the employer remembers you later when you apply for a job you are actually qualified for, it won't be fondly.
Resume Mistake #13: No keywords
If you are submitting online, be aware that hiring managers will do a quick search of keywords and keyword phrases to find appropriate resumes.
Resume Mistake #14: "References available upon request"
This is often used as a way to end a resume, but it's completely unnecessary. Of course you have references! Otherwise, you have no business applying for this job!
Make a great first impression
When it comes to finding the right job, your resume is a first impression you must perfect.