7 Mistakes You are Making on Your Resume
The Resume, the one piece of paper we all dread making but unfortunately it can greatly impact our careers. Let’s face it, at some point or another we all have had to make a resume. If you have not this is your time to do it ASAP!
Resumes are a big part of our professional lives whether you like it or not. When I was in college they had a massive amount of classes and seminars on resumes, they even had someone in the Career Center that was dedicated to just reading and reviewing resumes. (Sidenote: if you are in college right now and reading this go to your career center and use their resume helping services, you are already paying for them, it can’t hurt.) But the biggest struggle for people trying to write their resume was that everyone taught a different version of what a “Perfect Resume” is suppose to look like. Where should your titles be, what fonts to use, it can never go over 1 page (which is the biggest lie ever!) Resumes are not that hard I promise you, but they are something that will take personal time to build and get ready before you start applying to jobs.
In my previous position I worked in a recruiting team where I read and judged more resumes and interview feedback then I could have ever imaged. When I started, I worked heavily with a brilliant woman, who I am going to call Abbey (who to this day is still one of the hardest workers and best people I have ever worked with). I would watch her quickly go through massive amounts of resumes and be able to pick winners after maybe a minute of reading their resumes. For me personally, it was my first time being on the other side of the resume selection process (which is a lot more fun). I wanted to know what she was looking for, how could she tell from a piece of paper if this person was worth taking to the next step. After asking more questions than she probably wanted to answer, I started to be able to see what she was seeing, I started to learn how to judge a book by its cover (which in this case that statement is incredibly real).
When you think of a resume you have to view it as a picture first. If you look at a picture and it seems to have no flow, it’s confusing, and you cannot get a sense of who this artist even is, you will most likely have some not so nice thoughts about them. The same goes for a resume. If it looks unorganized, there are misspellings or odd timelines the recruiter is going to assume negative things about you before they have even started reading it. Your resume is the ultimate first impression!
After going through 100’s of resumes I started to notice that people, at all career levels, were all making the same common mistakes. Those mistakes may seem small but can play a major part in getting selected for the interview process. Below you will find the 7 most common mistakes you are making on your resume, and how to fix them.
1. Your Header lacks Information:
Bottom line, if I cannot find a number or email for you at the top of your resume you are not getting moved forward. The header space of your resume should be a much larger size then the rest of the type in the resume. It is the first place for you to stand out. This is where all of your contact information is placed. Looking at this piece of paper I should not have to search for your name or contact information. I understand that many people don’t like to give information out but if they cannot contact you, how will you get an interview? The only information in your header should be… Name, phone number, email, living address (or just city and state if you are more comfortable with that), and LinkedIn profile if you feel it is information you want the recruiter to see. Below are some examples.
⇑ These have bad information or not enough for a header ⇑
⇑ Two styles of professional headers with the correct information ⇑
2. Jobs in Chronological Order:
This one might seem silly but I have seen too many resumes where they just stated that they worked at jobs and either had no time line in them or they were out of order. You job list should be chronologically listed with the most current at the top. Make sure as well that with each position you are stating how long you worked there for. Recruiters like to see how long you stick around at positions. Below are some examples.
Poor information with no timeline or titles.
All the right information, in an easy to read format.
3. Your Layout Matters:
It is extremely important that your resume has an easy to read layout. All of the spacing should be the same. Your paragraphing and font should all be streamlined from section to section. Make sure that you have sections on your resume. This allows the recruiter to be able to know where to look for certain information without having to look up and down your whole resume. A typical resume might have sections such as…
- Education– School, degree in what, and years
- Certifications- This is where you place all of the certifications that you have.
- Professional Experience- list of jobs
- Technical Skills- different products you have worked with or know well.
- References – can add three with emails or write Available Upon request
- Profile – for people in certain field to showcase some previous work or projects.
4. Write in Past Tense:
I can even admit that I have made this mistake. When you are writing the details of your work for each position, write the sentences in past tense. Yes, even if you are currently working at the job now.
Should be Processed up, Greeted and welcomed, Answered guests, Coordinated with.
5. Tracking Technical Skills:
As each person grows in their career they have the ability to work with tons of different software and hardware. Always, and I mean always keep track of what product you feel confident in using and write them in your resume. This section of your resume can really help you stand out from others. From saying you have Expert Excel Skills to being able to say you worked on software that is predominantly used at the company you are applying to. These technical skills can drastically set your resume apart from others, so write them down.
6. Spelling Mistakes:
The best advice I can give someone is when you think you are done writing your resume, let someone else proofread it. It is so easy to overlook something that can be very obvious to someone else. The more people who check your resume for mistakes the better. Everyone makes mistakes, we are human after all, but some can place you at the bottom of the resume pile. For example, I received a person applying to a position from UC Berkeley and three times in their resume they misspelt Berkeley. Clearly, they either did not think spelling was an important detail in life or just didn’t care. Either way it’s not a good first impression.
7. Tailor your Resume:
Many people think that you must have one resume and that is it. So not true, if you are applying to multiple jobs and varying positions, tailor your resume to those position. If you are applying to a marketing position have one resume with samples of your previous work attached. Heavily mention all of the marketing related tasks you have done in your previous positions. Have a resume that is tailored to each type of job you are going after. It is ok to have three or four different types of resumes, as long as all the information is true. The major reason why this is so important is because if you are applying for a sales position but your resumes reads that you have done a lot of admin and marketing related tasks, recruiters might assume you are less interested in sales.
Hopefully this information sets you on the right path to finding your perfect job. If there are other resume questions you often find yourself asking please leave them in comments down below.