Why You Must (and How) to Avoid 4 Common Resume Mistakes

Saturday, October 7th, 2017 - Resume

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Thanks to a strong job market and a high number of people flocking to it – competition for top jobs and top pay are steeper than ever.

Your resume is one of the the most important tools for getting interviews and landing these top jobs, and there are a couple resume mistakes that you need to know about, because if you don’t correct them, they’re going to cost you job interviews (and job offers because of it!)

Fortunately – with some fast fixes, your resume will be much more likely to get you to the first interview and beyond. Here are the 4 common resume mistakes to look for, and fast fixes to correct them…

Mistake #1: Your Resume is Too Long

When your resume is too long, it buries the important facts, increases the odds it’ll get skimmed, and makes it harder for the hiring manager to figure out if you’re a good fit to interview.

For most people, three pages is way too long. Unless you’re an academic researcher or have 25 years of experience, you should make it shorter.

One page is great when you’re new to the workforce or have been in a similar role throughout most of your career.

For everyone else, a two-page resume is ideal.

FAST FIX:

Reduce the content on your resume until you have a two-page resume with the following formatting:

  • Margins:.5 inches all around
  • Font: Choose small sans serif font (Calibri or Ariel) with a 10- or 11-point size.

Mistake #2: Your Resume is Outdated

Make sure your resume doesn’t set off any alarms that it is dated. With an outdated resume, you run the risk of being perceived as out of date yourself.

FAST FIX:

Ditch the objective statement with a short branding paragraph that tells the reader how you are a perfect fit for the role (HINT: Look at the qualifications in job postings to get a sense of what they want to see). Be sure to also remove the phrase “references available upon request.”

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Mistake #3: It’s Too Dense

Big, dense chunks of text are TOUGH to read – especially when the reader is in a rush (resume readers are ALWAYS in a rush!)

So make use of white space on your resume. Make it inviting and easy to read.

Whenever something is hard to read, there’s a greater chance the person reading will just skip it. Avoid 5-line paragraphs, or more a long list of bullet points crunched together without any spacing.

FAST FIX:

Whittle your sentences or bullets down to no longer than 3 lines (1 to 2 lines is ideal). Insert at least a .5 point of white space between each bullet and/or paragraph to make it less overwhelming to read.

Mistake #4: You Buried the “Lead”

The first thing journalists learn is to never bury the “lead”. When it comes to resumes, you should never bury your achievements below a job overview or list of responsibilities.

First-round readers are often too busy to get past the first couple of lines of each employment entry – which means if your biggest achievements aren’t the first thing they see they may never get to it!

FAST FIX:

Ask yourself what you are proudest of with each role, and lead off with this response. Weave in some data or figures to back it up and you are sure to impress – or at least compel the reader to take a deeper look during Round Two.

Get Your Resume in the Keep Pile!

Correcting these 4 resume mistakes will go a long way toward keeping your resume out of the trash and into the “keep” pile. If you’re not getting as many interviews as you’d like, this should help you turn it around!

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