Your resume is at the core of your job search. A poorly crafted one will not only cost you the chance to land your dream job but will also consistently land you in the reject pile.
Spend enough time to perfect your resume. After all, you only have approximately 6 seconds before the recruiter decides to keep it or reject it. We've come up with the 5 most common resume mistakes along with tips to easily fix them.
Typos and grammatical errors
Nothing is more off-putting to a recruiter than a resume ridden with typos and grammatical errors. Typos are deadly as they're interpreted to be a sign of carelessness and lack of attention to details. In a 2013 study by CareerBuilder, typos may lead 58% of employers to automatically dismiss a candidate.
The fix: Run your resume through multiple checks. If it isn’t yet, turn on your word processor's built-in spell-check. Then check out Grammarly and Hemingway Editor for another layer of grammar and readability check. Reach out to a professional editor or proofreader and have them go over it. Having a pair of trained eyes is invaluable help as they will catch details you're likely to overlook.
Inappropriate email address
Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. What would you think of a candidate who uses an email address like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org on a resume?
The fix: Keep it professional. Setting up an account using one of the free email providers such as Gmail and Outlook takes less than 5 minutes. A few standard examples: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
It's even more impressive when you have your own domain. Examples: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Irrelevant or outdated information
As you grow in your career, your resume should reflect that. However, there's the temptation to overload your work history with irrelevant details. Unless it's directly related to the position you're applying for, there's no need to include every company you've worked for, projects you've done, or clubs you're a member of.
The fix: Keep your resume updated. Treat your work experience like a social media timeline where you present the most relevant work history targeted to the job where you want to get hired. Be cautious as well in listing your associations that may be in conflict with your potential employer.
Listing your current and past job descriptions is typical and easy, but it barely gives a clear idea about your performance. Make every word count when it comes to telling potential employers how you're adding value to the companies you've worked for.
The fix: Cut the fluff and let facts and numbers talk. If you have KPIs, use them to quantify your achievements. In showcasing your skills, tech and language competencies, achievements -- be as specific as possible. It's even better if you can provide links as backup reference or proof. If you're a creative or tech professional, providing links to your portfolio site or Github repo is standard.
Poor design and formatting
Design matters. A visually appealing resume stands out immediately from those sporting the same old boring templates. This doesn’t mean you need to use fancy fonts or elaborate layout.
Sometimes all you need is to add enough whitespace, use a readable font-size, or put a bit of color to highlight specific details. Make readability, clarity, and accessibility the goals of your resume design and formatting. To give you an idea, check out these examples of uncluttered resumes.
The fix: Go for a clean-looking layout where the text is easy to scan and crucial info like contact details are easy to find. Break blocks of text down into 1-2 line bullet points. Indicate the importance of text by using different font sizes, underlining/bolding, or using a different color.
Free online design tools such as Canva, LiveCareer's Resume Builder, TopCV, CV Maker, and many others make it easy these days to create a resume. In some of these services, you can even import your LinkedIn profile and generate a downloadable CV.
Note: Employers might require submitting your resume in a certain format for their Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Make sure that if you're submitting yours in PDF, it's not saved as an image beforehand. One way of knowing this is by checking if you can copy-paste content from the PDF to a text file.
Overall, your resume tells your story as a professional. Thus, it needs to be clear, concise and tailored for the position you’re applying for. If a piece of paper is your best chance of getting an interview for a job you'd love to have, then you need to give it your all. We hope these tips put you on the path of getting hired. Good luck!