Your resume has the official job of selling you to your prospective employers. As such, it has to be perfect or at least near perfect when you send it out to the company you’re applying for. To help you do that, here’s a list of the 15 worst resume mistakes you can possibly commit and of course, how to fix them.
Grammatical And Spelling Errors
Many times, we just laugh at such types of errors and consider them to be good sources of entertainment. But when it comes to your job applications, these aren’t laughing matters.
These types of mistakes tell your hiring managers there’s a very high probability you can’t be trusted with the small stuff and therefore, how can you be trusted with bigger responsibilities?
This is one of the easiest errors to avoid or correct. Chances are high that you use a word processing software or program to prepare your resumes and as such, you must learn to use its spelling and grammar check features. There’s no need to sweat the small stuff if you can do it automatically.
If you’ll be submitting an obsolete resume, it’s better not to submit at all. When I say obsolete, I’m talking about details and information contained therein. It goes without saying that when you submit your resume, every relevant job and working experience together with his or her applicable coverage dates must be included.
There’s really no reason why this kind of error should be present in your professional resume. After all, how often do you actually change jobs or companies? As such, it shouldn’t be hard to do.
The only solution to this really is to immediately update your resume as soon as you resign from your job to take on a new one. How I wish I can give you some modern, highly technical, and intelligent sounding advice on how to avoid or correct this error but really, the solution is simple and easy as updating your resume immediately.
Most resumes include an career objective statement, or what the applicant hopes to achieve by applying for a specific job or position in a particular company. Problems arise when generic objective statements are used for each and every resume or job application. In particular, there are times that the open job or position doesn’t match the applicant’s objective statement.
When you commit this kind of mistake or error, you communicate to your prospective employer or to the hiring manager that you haven’t really given the open job or position that much thought. They may get the impression that you don’t know what you’re getting into. As such, chances are high that your application will be rejected.
To avoid this costly error in your professional resumes, the simplest and best solution is to avoid including an objective statement in your resume. As the saying goes, the less you say or write, the lower the chances of making a mistake.
But if you are really required to include that objective statement in your resume or cover letter attached to it, the best way to avoid it is to read carefully what the open job or position requires and is about. If you make this a habit, you’ll be able to come up with an objective statement that’ll match up or with be consistent will the open job or position.
Career Summary-Job Mismatch
Another potential source of error for your resume is the career summary. If you do your homework of reading and studying that open job or position’s requirements, you may end up making a similar mistake as Job-Objective mismatch and give a summary of your career and skills that are useless when it comes to the job you’re applying for.
As with previous item, you can avoid this error simply by ditching the career summary all together or simply reading through the job requirements thoroughly.
Not Using Keywords For The Job
Using the right key words in your job application, particularly your professional resume, communicates to your prospective employer or the hiring manager that you are well versed in the duties and responsibilities of the open job or position. On the other hand, failure to use relevant keywords can give them the impression that you are not that competent, or experienced.
If you really are not that familiar with the job just yet and don’t have a clue which keywords to include, the simplest way to avoid this error is to include similar or same keywords that you see in the job ad or listing in your resume.
Too Much Information
Another common error found in most resumes is including too much information or details, many of which have no bearing or relevance to the open job or position. When you commit this error, you give your prospective employer or the hiring manager the impression that you’re not focused, you didn’t read through the job requirements, or worse, both.
To avoid committing this error in your resumes, simply focus on your key skills, work experiences, accomplishments. Make it a guideline to keep your professional resume’s pages to at most 1.) if you have less than 10 years working experience or 2.) if you have more. Adhering to such a guideline can force you to only include the necessary and relevant information in your resume.
No Numbers For Accomplishments
Your professional resume clearly need to include your key accomplishments. However, information that is not specific don’t mean much when it comes to convincing your prospective employer or the hiring manager to at least consider you for the open job or position. As much as possible, you will have to quantify your accomplishments, i.e., provide numbers related to them.
Instead of saying that you helped improve the efficiency of the assembly line in which you worked, say that you were responsible for cutting down the turnaround time from 10 days to only 7 days. By giving specific numbers, you’re able to give clear and specific details about your accomplishments.
So whenever possible, describe your accomplishments in measurable details in your resume.
Writing Poor Job Descriptions
Such job descriptions are those that merely itemize or enumerate a list of your previous jobs, duties, and responsibilities. They are poor because they don’t really show your prospective employer or the hiring manager what you have already accomplished.
For example, if you only wrote “ensured the timely delivery of products and services” as a description for a previously held position, all that you really said was what you did rather than what you have accomplished. To show what you have accomplished in that position, your job description should look something like “no late deliveries and 75% of the time, product and services were delivered earlier than the deadline.”
To minimize or avoid this error all together in your professional resume, think in terms of actual accomplishments and not duties and responsibilities alone.
Putting The Least Impact Details First
One of the ways to make your resumes uninteresting or boring is to skip the descriptions or paragraphs with the least impact details. You need to grab and sustain the attention of the person evaluating your resume given the limited time he or she has. The only way you can do that is by providing the most interesting or impacting information first. By committing the error of putting details that have minimal or no impact first, you run the risk of making the person reading your resume uninterested and let him or her to continue to the more important details.
To minimize this error, read through your resume after you finished preparing it. Go to each and every work experience details or entries and check with details, e.g., accomplishments, duties and responsibilities, should be on top of the list for that work experience or job. Those that stand out the most for you should be on top and the least ones at the bottom.
Too Much Modesty
While there’s wisdom in the saying prudence is the better part of valor, your professional resume isn’t the best place to apply such wisdom. Why? It’s because your resume is meant to showcase your best skills, experiences, and talents when it comes to performing well in the job or position you’re applying for.
This is one of the few occasions where bragging about your accomplishments isn’t just justified but highly encouraged as well. Not including key accomplishments can be an error that can cost you your application.
If only for the purpose of preparing your resume, suspend your humility or modesty. This is your time to shine and this is the moment to showcase what you got. Don’t hold off in listing down and describing your key accomplishments in your resume. Keep your eye on the prize of convincing the other party you’re worth hiring and remember how convincing your resume should be.
A wrong resume simply means sending a creative resume when the occasion calls for a formal one. It’s like sending an elaborately produced music-video resume for the position of an accountant – one of the most traditional and conservative professions in the world. Another example of sending the wrong resume is when you send a chronological resume when applying for a job that you don’t have enough working experience in yet.
To avoid this resume, simply ask other people who have successfully applied for similar jobs or in similar industries or companies. Often times, you just have to follow the crowd as to what works.
Or if you want to be positively different from the other applicants, you’ll need to do your homework and research on the nature of the job and the culture of the company you’re applying in. If you want to take the risk of separating yourself from the pack by sending a unique resume, just make sure you take a well-calculated risk by learning as much as you can about the job and the company.
No, I’m not talking about accidentally – or on purpose? – attaching someone else’s picture on your resume. I’m talking about attaching the wrong kind of photo, i.e., wrong size, wrong background color, wrong attire in the photo, and worse, the wrong facial expression!
This mistake is pretty easy to avoid – pay attention to the job listing or ad. Everything the prospective employer or hiring manager wants you to do per your resume and the rest of the application, it’s already there. In the absence of any instructions as to photos, it’s best to attach one where you’re wearing business attire, with a white background, and one where you’re not smiling from ear to ear.
It’s All About You
Especially when including a cover letter or an objective statement, many make the mistake of clearly communicating what they are after from the open job or position and the company but not showing the employer or hiring manager what’s in it for them. If you make the same mistake, you’ll communicate to them that you’re at high risk for jumping ship the moment you don’t get what you want from the company or worse, you have no loyalty whatsoever. For positions or companies where tenure or stability is important, this is a no-no.
In your cover letter or objective statement, make sure that you at least include something about how you can contribute to the company or how it’ll benefit from having you around. Remember, chances are that you’ll face competition from other applicants and as such, you’ll need to convince the employer why you’re the best option. And one of the best ways to convince them that you are the best candidate is by letting them know how they’ll benefit from getting you and not the others.
Reasons For Leaving
Unless specifically asked by the employer to be included in your resume, don’t state your reasons for changing jobs or companies. There’s no real benefit to doing so but it only puts you at risk of giving the employer or hiring manager a bad impression either by making your previous employers, yourself, or both look bad.
Just skip the reasons. If there’s a good time to disclose them, it’ll be during the interview and only when asked.
References Upon Request
These just take up important resume-real estate and can affect your resume’s conciseness. It’s best to just leave it out of your resume. Anyway, they can always ask you for them if they need it, regardless if you put “Available upon request” or not. You’ll just appear redundant if you put it in your resume.