Ready for that new gig? Is it time to move on up to bigger & better things (ahem…like a bigger & better salary, ahem)? If so, then you’ll need to develop a new resume for your prospective employers’ perusal.
Stop and compare yourself to a website for a moment. A resume functions as an “About Me” page for yourself. If an employer wants to engage your services, they’ll need to know all about you, and let’s face it, no one wants to hire someone who can’t spell or communicate what it is that they can do for the employer.
Just as you wouldn’t be likely to buy anything from a poorly edited website that doesn’t make it clear what they’re selling, a prospective employer wouldn’t hire a candidate with a poorly-written resume.
If you’re far from sure how to write a resume that will get you hired, fear not, because there are more than a few ways to avoid some of the most common (and major) resume-writing mistakes. From dispensing with some traditional resume writing elements to hiring a resume writing service, you’ll learn about the five most common resume writing mistakes and how to steer wide and clear of them.
Put your best foot forward – and make it look nice.
Much as you would prepare for an in-person (or virtual) interview where the employer is seeing you for the first time, you have to ensure that your resume is visually pleasing. Many a resume has been tossed in the trash without regard for its content or the experiences of its author because it was simply a visual cacophony. Different fonts, unnecessary changes in font size, completely different formatting on the same bullet level – all of this makes a job candidate look unprepared and quite frankly, incompetent.
If it’s essentially a (very much true) joke at this point that anyone looking to pad the “Skills” section on their resume will add something about how they’re “proficient in Microsoft Office suite”, then you can fully expect to be disregarded for demonstrating that you don’t even know how to do that!
A clean resume should use the same font throughout and only vary in size across headings and subheadings. Keep the font color consistent and avoid variations in formatting by using the format painter tool.
Readability begins with legibility, and although word processors have made obsolete the need for excellent penmanship, you still must be careful not to fall into the “poorly-formatted resume” trap.
Keep it Professional – All the Way Down to Your Email
It’s worthwhile to mention that your private email address for friends or spam mail promotions should not be used on a professional resume. While loveleekittenXoXo@insertdomainhere.com is perfectly fine for giving out to promotional mailing lists, it may make prospective employers look at you unfavorably even if you do have all the relevant certifications and impressive experiences elsewhere on your resume.
Free email domains like Gmail, Yahoo!, and Protonmail are good enough, but make sure that your username includes only some variation of your full name, dots, and underscores. Even adding personal details like your favorite sports team’s nickname or your favorite band’s name give off an unprofessional, unserious air. Keep it simple, and if you don’t have an email username like that already, go ahead and create one; and don’t forget to check it!
Tell Me What You’ve Accomplished, Not What Your Old Job Description Was
Another common error is simply listing duties under your work history. Saying that you “Completed tasks within the X software suite” or “Maintained filing systems” only tells your future employer what your old job description was. To make yourself more marketable, focus on quantitative specifics, such as “Secured $40,000 in sales during a six-month period” or “organized 5 years’ worth of disordered files into an efficient, chronological filing system”.
Given how common recounting one’s job description is on resumes, you’ll both stand out and give your future employer the measurables that they seek and can use to justify your hiring. After all, everyone knows that if you’ve worked there, you can complete basic tasks expected of the position, but quantifiable, hard accomplishments sound much more impressive and help make a case for your hiring.
Not Double-Checking All of Your Information
So you’ve dotted and crossed all your proverbial ‘I’s and ‘T’s and perhaps you’ve even used a professional resume writing service, but you’re just not getting the responses from employers that you expected. As a matter of fact, you’re not getting any responses at all. Now, you don’t expect to hear from everyone, but you know that you’re qualified, which makes this a bit peculiar.
It happens to the best of us, but sometimes applicants will hamstring themselves by merely forgetting to put down the correct contact information. A “7” in a phone number is mistakenly turned into an “8”, a “.net” in an email address is turned into a “.com”. Whatever the case may be, these simple errors can sink even the mightiest job-seeking ship.
When you put so much time into developing the perfect resume, it’s somewhat common to forget to check such details. If you don’t, you’ll have a resume that will get employers excited to call and schedule an interview with you: but you won’t be on the receiving end to hear it.
It may sound a bit elementary, but it has happened to plenty of otherwise intelligent people and is damaging enough that it bears mentioning always check and double-check your contact information before sending off your resume!
Not Using a Pro Resume Writing Service
If you’re never considered yourself a strong writer, or simply don’t have the requisite time to put into ensuring that your resume is absolutely flawless, consider hiring a professional resume writing service.
There’s still a bit of work required on your end, of course, as the resume-writers will need information on your objectives, work history, and a plethora of other things. However, using a reputable service will ensure that you don’t have any issues with grammar, spelling, or formatting.
A resume writer can also help you craft a resume that will stand out and give suggestions on content and formatting to do so. They spend all day making resumes better, so who better to get some help from? Consider it a worthwhile investment.
It Doesn’t Have to be Difficult
Most of us take our resumes and job applications seriously, and the pitfalls listed above can certainly derail your job search. Nevertheless, crafting an attractive and functional resume that stands out from the crowd doesn’t have to be difficult.
With some attention to detail, a little bit of extra time and thought, and perhaps even some professional assistance, you can have a mistake-free resume to help secure your next job.