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Don’t let mistakes on your resume hinder your job search. Follow these tips on avoiding common resume mistakes and land your next interview!
Your resume is the first tool a potential employer uses to learn about you. Before they know your personality, work ethic, or productivity, they will know your resume. You want your resume to be inviting and intriguing to make a great first impression.
Trends in resume writing and formatting have changed throughout the years. It's essential to be aware of these changes, especially if you are entering, or re-entering, the workforce. Today we will tell you all about the most common resume mistakes so that you can avoid them the next time you update yours.
In this article, we’ll discuss
The most common resume mistakes seen in 2023 and how to avoid them
What a recruiter might see as a red flag on your resume
What to look for when reviewing your resume
Having any of these common mistakes on your resume opens the potential to be overlooked by a potential employer. Avoiding these mistakes will indicate that you are keeping up with professional trends.
It can't be stressed enough – always spellcheck before submitting your resume! Any spelling or grammatical errors reflect very poorly on your professionalism. In the workforce at large, there is little leniency for spelling and grammar errors in professional documents. Your resume should meet the standards of a professional document.
Modern resumes should have multiple sections, utilize lines and spacing for ease of readability, and use a format that optimizes the story of your experience.
In addition to your professional experience and education, also include sections like career summary, key achievements, areas of expertise, tech proficiencies, licenses and certifications, and professional development. Keep the sections relevant to your experience, but use them to highlight achievements that might have otherwise been overshadowed by your work experience.
Recruiters read through dozens of resumes at a time. You want your resume to be easily digestible so that all of the key items are retained. To achieve this, look into resume templates that are already formatted to modern standards.
One of the most prominent changes in today’s standards of resumes is listing out your work experience in the form of achievement, versus as a duty. Consider the following example.
Written as a duty
- Answered phone calls, greeted customers, and scheduled appointments.
Written as an achievement
- Optimized customer experience by communicating effectively during scheduling calls and in-person interactions. Maintained a positive atmosphere in the waiting room, increasing customer retention by 15% per quarter.
When you write your duties as achievements, you are highlighting how your application of the duty made a positive impact on the business.
An important change in the workforce in recent years is the use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). When you submit a resume for a position, it will automatically be sent through a software program that scans it to determine if you are a good match for the position. How does it know? By searching your resume for keywords from the job description. If your resume has matching keywords, it will earn a high score, and will more likely be reviewed by a recruiter.
For every new job you apply for, edit your resume to match the keywords in the description. To find keywords, look at both the required and preferred qualifications sections. If there is a software program or computer skill listed, add it to your resume. If there is a specific process, skill, or knowledge base that is named, add it to your resume. Even if you think it should go without saying, it’s worth adding it to your resume simply to get a high score on an ATS scan.
One of the easiest ways to miss an opportunity is if the interviewer cannot reach you afterward. Double and triple-check your contact information every time before you submit it. As a bonus step, make sure your voicemail box has space for new messages.
In addition to having correctly written contact information, you should also have consistent information across all of your profiles. If you have a LinkedIn or personal website, you need to make changes to all of them any time you make changes to one of them. If your resume says you’ve worked in marketing for 12 years but you only have 7 accounted for on your other platforms, it creates a question mark in the interviewer’s mind. Typically, you don’t want that to be the impression you make.
The biggest mistake you could make on your resume is not promoting yourself well. Underselling yourself can be a critical error since you usually only get one chance to impress a recruiter.
Pull out your resume and open up your LinkedIn or website. Go through the common mistakes listed above and apply each concept to your documents. A methodic approach will help you avoid the mistakes the most.
Avoid red flags altogether by only having relevant information on your resume. Keep all experience within the last 10-15 years, match your keywords to the job description, don’t exaggerate your qualifications, and use a modern format that makes your resume inviting to read.
One of the most important trends in resume writing is not going for the “one size fits all” approach to your resume. If a resume represents a mashup of experience, it will be perceived as significantly weaker. Unless there is a direct connection, it’s best to use a single resume to illustrate your expertise in one field, than to show moderate experience in many fields.
Instead, it's recommended to have a different resume for every industry that you want to pursue. Try speaking with a resume writer or career advisor to get ideas on how to best format your resume and ideas on how to bulk it up if your experience is limited.
Your resume is how you make your first impression in the workplace. Use it wisely!
Modify your resume so that you can avoid common mistakes which might hold you back professionally.
Keeping up with common trends is an important way to get noticed.
Emma is a certified employment specialist with over 6 years of experience in career mentorship and employment training. With an affinity for technical writing, Emma is passionate about developing training manuals, policy and procedures, onboarding documents, and fiscal management systems. In 2020 she helped design Colorado’s first state-certified training program for people with disabilities entering the workforce.