Thursday, June 7, 2012

Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid

We thought this article, by Alesia Benedict, a contributing writer for was particularly helpful -- take a look at your resume and see if you are making these mistakes. It could be the reason you are not making it to the next step in the process -- the interview.

Email Errors

One of the most common (and costly) goofs we see is an incorrect email address.

Since most job search efforts are centered around email communications, having an email address that is wrong or difficult to interpret can be a major pothole in the road to success. Double-check your email address to make sure it is correct. Don't use your work email address on your resume, and try to avoid having an email that has the number 1 in it as it can be difficult to tell if it's a letter or a numeral. Avoid goofy or cutesy email monikers such as "vanhalenlvr83" or similar. Email systems that use automated spam authenticators are loathed by recruiters and line managers alike, so stay away from them during you job search.

Remember, you can set up an email address that you use JUST for job search.

Too Much Information

Job seekers often forget for whom they are writing.

The recruiter or hiring manager is going to be skim-reading the resume and will be looking for the main points. The job seeker, on the other hand, feels it's necessary to put every bit of information possible in the resume, right down to including that Eagle Scout designation from 1984.Having too much information, or irrelevant information, is a common resume error that often ends with said resume in the trash bin.

Not Enough Information

The opposite of TMI is TLI -- too little information.

Being too general in the resume is just as bad as being too wordy. Usually too little information takes the form of no details on achievements. Most people can get their job duties or role descriptions down, but falter when it's time to detail their successes in some sort of quantitative or qualitative way. As a result, the content is thin or bland and doesn't inspire the reader to make contact with the job seeker.

Mechanical Mistakes

Misspellings are the most common mechanical mistake.

People rely on spell-check too much. Spell-check might be able to save you from spelling mistakes, but it cannot tell the difference when it comes to meaning. For instance, if you write "manger" instead of "manager." spell-check won't flag it. Other mechanical problems include verb tense shift and capitalization. It seems like when in doubt, job seekers will capitalize something just "to be on the safe side" but that just creates an error.

The 1-Page Resume

One page resumes is really most appropriate for students and new graduates without a great deal of experience.

Having said that, we still see plenty of one page resumes for more senior job seekers come in for critiques -- and it does surprise me! When a job seeker tries to limit the content of the resume to fit into one page, he/she is cutting vital information to adhere to a "rule" that is not valid for most resumes. Many resumes (including mid-level) are two pages in length.

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