Whether you're new to the workforce or are already a seasoned veteran, you're probably aware that a good resume could spell the difference between landing an interview and getting passed over from the get-go. One thing you must realize about resumes is that recruiters and hiring managers will often use them to decide in seconds if you're a viable job candidate or not, so the more polished that document is, the better it'll serve your career. With that in mind, here are a few resume blunders you must avoid at all costs.
1. Spelling and grammatical errors
Most word processing programs come with built-in spell-checking software, so avoiding spelling errors should be a simple matter of activating that tool and letting it do its thing. Checking for grammatical errors, however, is not as easy. Even those so-called grammar-check programs often don't do an adequate job in spotting mistakes, so if you're not a grammar wiz yourself, find someone who is. Enlist the help of that old English major friend of yours or beg your editor neighbor to spend a few minutes helping you out.
If you don't know anyone in a good position to assist, search for someone online. You might pay a freelancer as little as $25 to go through your resume and identify errors, and seeing as how that document could open the door to much more money, that's certainly a worthwhile investment.
2. Stylistic inconsistencies
Any hiring manager or recruiter who values attention to detail will easily pick up on the fact that your resume sports its share of visual inconsistencies. So don't give those decision makers a reason to pass you up. Comb through that document and make sure that if you're bolding job titles in one area, you're bolding them everywhere else. Similarly, stick to the same font size for titles, headings, and regular text so that your copy looks visually clean.
3. Too much content
Unless you've held down a host of equally impressive jobs over a lengthy career, there's really no reason for your resume to exceed the one-page mark. So if yours is spilling onto multiple pages, it's a sign that you're not being selective enough about its contents. Rather than submit a two- or three-page resume, take a look at that document and aim to pare it down. Focus on your recent or relevant experience rather than list your entire work history, and keep your opening statement short and concise so there's room to focus on your job-related wins.
4. Too many buzzwords and cliches
We're not all expert writers by nature, but your resume should sound reasonably genuine. Loading up on popular buzzwords and cliches, however, will achieve the opposite effect, so review that document and eliminate loathsome catchphrases such as "pushed the envelope" and "took things to the next level." Then, put concrete details in their place, like "implemented new software system" and "increased sales by 20%."
5. Not including your contact information
One of the silliest ways to blow your chances of getting an interview is failing to include basic contact information on your resume. If you'd rather not list your home address (which some people omit intentionally so as to not be rejected by virtue of living far from a job's location), at least grace the person reading your resume with a way to contact you by phone as well as email.
6. Focusing on responsibilities more so than accomplishments
The purpose of a resume is to show that you're a qualified candidate for a given job, so it's natural to assume that listing your previous responsibilities is a good way to convey that message. But if you really want to grab recruiters' and hiring managers' attention, don't just include the various tasks you were assigned through the years. Instead, highlight accomplishments that show you were good at those tasks.
For example, rather than state "responsible for managing office budget," try "reduced purchasing expenditures by 10% in the previous year." This sends the message that you were not only tasked with maintaining that budget but did so swimmingly.
The stronger a resume you present, the greater your chances of landing a job interview. Avoid these mistakes, and with any luck, you'll be well on your way to getting in the door at the company of your dreams.
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