Usually, a company’s first impression of you comes in the form of a little white sheet of paper. This is your resume, and it includes your entire education and work history on 1-2 pages. With such a limited amount of space it is important to get it right the first time. Here is a list of the ten most common mistakes people make when writing their resume. Avoiding these mistakes alone won’t automatically get you the job, but it will improve your chances.
10. Writing your resume like a series of job descriptions.
When writing your resume it is important to include what your job responsibilities are or were, but you have to do it in such a way that it doesn’t bore the person who is reading it. Instead of saying that you are a group manager say that you have implemented work routines for a group of people. Just add some spice and it will immediately catch the attention of the reader. Instead of focusing on your duties, focus on your accomplishments. Make sure your resume includes the facts to back up your claims.
9. Writing your resume in first person.
The worst mistake you can make when writing your resume is to say I, me, or my. Your resume should read like someone else wrote it. Save the personal touches for your cover letter where you can say I, me, and my all you want.
8. Including irrelevant personal information in your resume.
Since there is such a limited amount of space on your resume you don’t want to waste any of it. Leave out your marital status, hobbies, and volunteer work. None of this stuff is going to help you get the job and you don’t have much space, so use it wisely.
7. Using passive language and non action words in your resume.
When you are writing your resume your intention should be to make a bold and strong statement. Use plenty of actions words and adjectives when writing your resume. This is your opportunity to really sell yourself. Try using words like coordinated, achieved, or implemented. Everyone says they are a hard working and motivated so avoid using these phrases. Try coming up with something a bit more original.
6. Repetition of words and sentences in your resume.
As far as wording and action words are concerned you should try to have a little variety. Don’t use the same sentence over and over again throughout the entire resume. Use a thesaurus to come up with new ways to say the same thing. Don’t go overboard because it will look like you used a thesaurus, and that is not the impression you want to give to your future employer. You should just be well spoken a thesaurus is only a tool that helps you sound better.
5. Bad or unclear resume formatting.
The overall look and feel of your resume is very important. You only have once opportunity to get it right, after all this is the first impression the company will have of you. Your resume should be easy to read and to pick out your accomplishments. It should be clean and polished looking, so don’t bother adding unconventional fonts or graphics. All though you may love that kid print font it is not appropriate for your resume. Pictures and other graphics should not be included either unless you are in the entertainment industry where it is often required to have pictures.
4. Resumes without a cover letter.
Sending a resume without a cover letter is like selling a product without its packaging. It’s like gift wrap, and no present is complete without it. Your resume cover letter is your chance to make an introduction for yourself; prepare the company for who they are about to meet. You can also include the personal stuff here if you like. Your cover letter is where you first get the chance to sell yourself so choose your words carefully.
3. Unfocused and Generic Resumes
This is one of the biggest mistakes that most people make when writing their resume. Your resume should be relevant to your target area and you should have a goal. Include any and all information that is relevant to the job you are trying to get; this includes references. Try to imagine a goal that you want to reach while working for the company and why you are a good fit for the job. If you don’t have a goal it is hard to imagine what you will do with your time at the company.
2. Typos: spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors.
One thing you must do before you print out your resume is proofread and spell check. The first resumes to go in the trash are the ones that have mistakes. If you can’t take the time to check your resume for errors it shows the company you are lazy or incapable. We all know they are not looking for bums so do a spell check.
1. To Whom it May Concern;
This is the number one mistake of all time that people make when applying for a job. If you don’t take the time to find a name, of a real person at the company you are sending your resume to than why bother? It shows some initiative on your part if you actually take the time to find out the hiring manager’s name, and address your resume cover letter to him or her. It will only take a few minutes but will save you a lot of time.