Your resume is your first opportunity to make a great impression on potential employers. Make sure yours does just that by avoiding some common resume blunders:
- Lies, fibs, and exaggerated achievements – Be honest about your skills, achievements and work history. Exaggerating these things can come back to haunt you when your potential employer does background checks or asks you to perform at a certain skill level on the first day. Stick to the facts.
- Listing irrelevant work experience – Stay focused on the (desired) job at hand. If you’re looking for jobs in multiple industries, you should maintain a couple of different resumes that include qualifications specific to each job/industry.
- Unquantified self-praise – Don’t say you’re a pro; show you’re a pro. Quantify your achievements eg. improved client retention by 35 per percent over the two years.
- Fancy designs – Resume files should be easy to open, easy to print and easy to understand. Use a common but legible font (sans-serif is most preferred), and don’t get creative with borders, colours, or other decorations – keep it simple. Photos are unnecessary.
- Overly creative job titles – Use common, searchable terms and titles. Social media and resume tracking systems use search capability to screen hundreds of resumes. If you use expressions such as, ‘I am a customer evangelist’ they may not be picked up by the system.
- Do not use “to whom it may concern” – Customize your resumes for each job that you apply to. Take a few minutes to carefully read over and edit your résumé before you send it, and try to the best of your ability to find the name of the person you are sending it to.
- Using an unprofessional email address – Email addresses with words other than your name in them or that include numbers or inappropriate language, demonstrate a distinct lack of professionalism. Make a new general account for resumes if necessary, with your name or initials.
- Do not Include hobbies and personal interests – Personal interests are a tough call. Some experts say keep them off.
- Spelling and grammatical errors – These mistakes send a very unprofessional image, and even a seemingly harmless typo/error could lose you an opportunity.