When employers are sifting through applications, looking for the perfect candidate, the first impression of a potential hire is often a résumé. Making a mistake on your résumé could be the reason that your application ends up in the ‘no pile.’ Here are seven common mistakes that job hunters make that can sabotage their chances for an interview and a potential new position.
Typos and grammatical errors
A résumé must be grammatically correct. Proofread your résumé before submitting it to employers. Using spell check and other proofreading programs are helpful but applicants shouldn’t rely on them. Read your résumé out loud and listen to the language. Strategies such as changing the font and printing out the résumé can help you review it with fresh eyes. Allowing extra time to put your résumé down and come back to it is also beneficial to the editing process. After you perfect your résumé, ask a friend or family member to review it. Don’t be careless and make sure to pay extra attention to detail as a small typo could be the reason that you are eliminated from the applicant pool.
According to Forbes.com, no two roles are alike, which is why sending out one résumé for various job opportunities won’t cut it. A résumé should be tailored to the organization and should note how and why you fit into the specific position and organization. Work on one job application at a time and take the time to truly understand the position and the company. Different companies have different needs so your résumé should be customized. Each résumé needs to be tweaked for each potential opportunity.
There is no set rule regarding résumé length. Generally speaking, though, you need to limit yourself to a minimum of one page and a maximum of two pages, depending on the field of work. Don’t use fluff to make your résumé longer but at the same time, don’t cut out important information to conform it to a shorter length. Unfortunately, there is no strict regulation regarding length, so use your best judgment.
Lack of information
When information is missing on a résumé, employers will wonder why and they might start to question the validity of your application. Solely the feeling of uneasiness or untrustworthiness can make an employer eliminate a résumé. Check the job posting and work without your recruiter to ensure that every detail that they ask for is included and accurate. Applicants often leave out dates of employment.
Listing duties and not results
Be clear and specific with your accomplishments and include details. Quantify your accomplishments and don’t be too modest. Your résumé is the place to brag. Instead of telling an employer about a duty that was required of you at a previous job, tell them about a result or what you accomplished. According to LinkedIn, numbers and metrics speak louder than words.
Poor language use
Every word counts. Do not copy and paste from the job ad, but do use it as a reference. Be careful and creative with your language and use action verbs. Be succinct and precise but don’t bore the employer. Remember that at any point while reading your résumé, an employer can put it down. Don’t be afraid to show personality. Employers have limited time to choose a handful of résumés, so you must hold their attention and entice them to keep reading before moving on to the next candidate.
A résumé should be appealing and attractive to the eyes. Don’t distract the reader with obnoxious fonts and graphics. Don’t shorten the margins and try to fit as many words on the page as possible, as it will become very busy. Ensure that there is an organized structure and a flow to your résumé. If you are unsure, print it out and ask for a second or third opinion.
It doesn’t hurt to ask for multiple opinions regarding your résumé. Companies can receive hundreds of résumés for one particular position. Your résumé is the first thing that employers see when reviewing an application, which is why it needs to be perfect.