It’s really easy to make mistakes on your resume and very difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. So prevention is critical, whether you’re writing your first resume or revising it for a mid-career job search. Check out this guide to the most common difficulties and how you can avoid them.
1. Typos and Grammatical Errors
Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn’t, employers will read between the lines and draw conclusions about you, like: “This person can’t write,” or “This person obviously doesn’t care.”
2. Lack of Specifics
Employers need to understand what you’ve done and accomplished. For example:
A. Worked with employees in an IT setting.
B. Recruited, hired, trained and supervised more than 20 employees in an IT firm.
Both of these phrases could describe the same person, but the details and specifics in example B will more likely grab an employer’s attention.
3. Going on Too Long or Cutting Things Too Short
Despite what you may read or hear, there are no real rules about resume length, because hiring managers have different preferences where resumes are concerned. That doesn’t mean you should start sending out five-page resumes, of course. Generally speaking, you usually need to limit yourself to a maximum of two pages. But don’t feel you have to use two pages if one will do. Equally, don’t cut it too short simply to make it follow the one-page standard.
4. A Vague Objective
Employers do read your resume objective, but too often they don’t pay attention to vague lines like, “Seeking a challenging position that offers professional growth.” Give employers something specific and, more importantly, something that focuses on their needs as well as your own.
5. No Action Verbs
Avoid using phrases like “responsible for.” Instead, use action verbs: “Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk serving 4,000 students and staff.”
6. Leaving Off Important Information
You may be tempted, for example, to eliminate mention of the jobs you’ve taken to earn extra money. Typically, however, the soft skills you’ve gained from these experiences (e.g., work ethic, time management) are more important to employers than you might think.
7. Visually Too Busy
If your resume is wall-to-wall text featuring five different fonts, it will most likely give the employer a headache. So show your resume to several other people before sending it out. Do they find it visually attractive? If what you have is not easy on the eyes, revise.
8. Incorrect Contact Information
Double-check even the most tiny, taken-for-granted details!