Simple Mistakes Can Sabotage Your Job Hunt

If you're job hunting and not being invited to as many interviews as you'd like, it may be time for a resume update.

Many applicants inadvertently sabotage themselves by submitting resumes that come across as sloppy and unprofessional.

  • Stand out from the pack by learning how to avoid the most common resume mistakes.
  • Don’t forget to proofread!

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5 Common Resume Mistakes

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Including Your Life Story

Your resume doesn't need to include every job you've ever held or your hobbies.

  • Be respectful of your potential employer's time and keep it short and sweet.
  • If you’re tight on space eliminate positions that were temporary, part-time, and/or irrelevant to the type of work you are seeking.
  • As an experienced worker, keep in mind you only need to include 10 to 15 years of work history on your resume. The primary focus should be on your recent accomplishments.

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Being Too Vague

A resume that just lists tasks and responsibilities is a real turn-off. You need to provide specific details about your achievements. Hiring mangers love to see numbers:

  • I supervised a team of five full-time and two part-time employees while overseeing a yearly budget of $275,000” is more impressive than “I managed the marketing department.”
  • I increased the company’s Facebook likes by 75% in six months” is sure to attract more attention than “I worked to increase customer engagement via social media.”

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Forgetting Keywords

Many companies today use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to quickly sort through resumes. These software programs are designed to pick out keywords that are relevant to the position.

  • If you don't use the right keywords, your resume will never make it to the hiring manager's desk.
  • Search position listings and the LinkedIn profiles of professionals in your industry to see what words and phrases are used the most, then incorporate these into your resume.

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Ignoring Visual Appeal

It's not uncommon for an employer to receive 100 or more resumes for one position. Make sure your resume looks appealing:

  • Choose a readable 10 to 12 point font such as Garamond, Calibri, Cambria, Helvetica, or Georgia.
  • Use bullets to draw attention to your accomplishments.
  • Leave white space between positions to avoid a cluttered look.
  • Highlight headers with a larger or bolder font.
  • For a more modern look try different colors, bar charts, or icons: but don’t overdo it.

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Lying

Presenting your background is a positive light is a great idea, but you still need to be truthful.

  • Embellishing your qualifications is a fireable offense, even if the deception is discovered long after you were formally offered the position.
  • Feel free to highlight transferable soft skills such as communication, leadership, and organization, but don't invent proficiency in a foreign language or make up a position to camouflage a year-long gap in your work history.

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