Resumes are a necessary part of any career, and it’s important to make sure that yours is perfect. Not only are you needing to ensure there are no mistakes, but you have to figure out how to get a hiring manager to actually read it and make sure it isn’t simply tossed aside. Here are 10 common resume mistakes to avoid.
1) Being Too Long
Unless you are a high level manager or director, you should keep your resume to one page if possible.
Why? Because hiring managers receive TONS of resumes. If you are applying for an entry-level or low-level management job, hiring managers will only be glancing at resumes. If yours is multiple pages, they won’t ever look at it.
Typically, hiring managers are trying to quickly find the right applicant, so it’s important to make the hiring process easy on them. Having an appealing one-page resume is a sure way to get noticed.
2) Misspellings and Grammatical Errors
This may seem obvious, but it can be so hard to spot small errors on your own resume.
Ask family and friends to proofread your resume. The more people who see it, the better. You never know who might catch something you missed.
3) Including Irrelevant Information
Many millennials feel the need to include every single bit of work history on a resume. It depends on the job whether it is relevant, but, for example, a prospective job in marketing isn’t going to care if you were a summer lifeguard. Make what little space you have count.
One easy way to figure out if something is relevant to the job you are applying for is to scrutinize the job description. You don’t want to copy the job description exactly, but using it as a guideline will help you cater your resume for what the hiring managers are looking for.
4) Not Being Visually Appealing
No matter what field you work in, you want to make sure that your resume is eye catching and easy to read.
What is considered visually appealing to hiring managers? This depends on the industry you are in. For instance, if you are applying for a graphic design job, you probably want your resume to be creative, while still easy to read. If you work in law, you want a pretty simple and traditional resume.
Make sure that your name is large at the top, and that everything is lined up and easy to read. If you’re unsure, one easy way to do this is to print off your resume and hold it far away. Would you gravitate towards it if it was in a stack of papers?
5) Using Inconsistent Tenses
This can be a little tricky, as most of us don’t think of it frequently, but using inconsistent tenses is a common mistake on resumes.
You want everything to be written in past tense. It’s easy to make this mistake though an write things as current tense, such as saying “create” instead of “created.” It is simple enough to fix, but something to be mindful of. That attention to detail is sure to impress a hiring manager.
6) Not Catering Your Resume to Keywords
Did you know that most times you are applying for a job, you are sorted through an applicant tracking system before your resume ever gets seen by a human? That means you have to understand a little how the computer system works before you can move on in the hiring process.
Applicant tracking systems are looking for certain keywords in your resume. While it’s impossible to know exactly what words they are looking for, you can guide yourself in the right direction by including words they used in the job description. For example, if they are looking for a manager, you can guarantee they won’t accept resumes without the word “manage,” “manager,” or “management” or “supervised.”
7) Using Weak Verbs
Remember when you are using verbs, there are strong verbs and weak verbs. Make the most of your resume and use strong, action verbs.
For instance, saying you “created and implemented,” versus “made” sounds much more powerful.
8) Not Including Volunteer Projects or Side Hustles
If you volunteer or work at a side hustle, these can be great things to mention on a resume.
Typically, it is a bonus to a hiring manager if you are involved in the community and hold leadership positions across those extra curricular activities.
If you side hustle, you can include that, too. I include my blog and my freelance writing business on my resume because it shows that I am capable of running a successful business, and that I like to push myself and keep my skills up-to-date.
9) But Including Hobbies
It’s great to have hobbies, but they really don’t need to be listed on your resume.
Remember, your resume is a valuable piece of real estate. Hobbies aren’t a bad thing to include, but we are trying to think of the best things you can include. A hiring manager will be more impressed to read more about on-the-job skills than what you do in your free time.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that hobbies are a totally off limit topic. Depending on the hiring manager, some might want to know more about what you do in your free time, while others, frankly, might not care. You can figure this out in the interview, but save the space on your resume for more pressing matters.
10) Not Bragging About Yourself Enough!
The whole point of a resume is to brag about yourself! So don’t worry about feeling like you sound too boastful. A resume really should be a sheet of paper bragging about what you do best.
You can be humble in person, but trying to be humble on a resume really downplays what you have accomplished. So take this opportunity to brag yourself up.