Common mistakes when writing a resume and how to avoid them.
As part of our business, we come across too many resumes from candidates from all around the world. You always hear “add this” and “add that” for a good looking resume but there is plenty of stuff that should be left out or expressed in the right way.
From content to formatting these mistakes can be countless if a person doesn’t follow some common sense guidelines. Writing a resume is about showing yourself in the best way possible so a recruiter can give you that green light towards the desired position. Here are a couple of examples that could help you out.
1. Size does matter.
It’s a common mistake for a person when creating his resume to write way too much. There is a proper balance line between a resume and an autobiography novel. Personally I came across to an 8 pages long resume. Trust me after the second page everything else was just irrelevant even if the person wrote that he’s been walking on the moon in flip flops.
Try to keep it simple and as short as possible. A normal well done resume should not extend 2 pages. You could always go for a little bit longer but only if it’s required to be shown in front of more specific target audience.
2. The objective
Many objectives basically say nothing. Writing that you are looking for a “challenging position within a growing international corporation that will allow you to make positive contribution towards the society and will let you grow your personal professionalism” is groundbreaking as a sentence but a part of that it says nothing.
It is better to make a self summary or “Who I Am” section. You have to make sure you focus this part towards the targeted audience and speak directly about the stuff that you know will interest them. This is your chance to make it clear that you are a strong fit as this part is usually in the beginning and you will be sending a strong message from the start.
3. Strange and polarizing interests
Always make sure you are relevant to the field that you are targeting. Applying for a kindergarten teacher and practicing extreme sports or spending many hours in the local gun club is probably not a good fit. Practicing witchcraft or having drinks every night with your buddies? Maybe that makes you quite popular on Facebook and in your other social circles but when it comes to applying for a serious respected position that is not what you should have in your resume.
Include interests only if you feel they support your professional message and brand. Applying for marketing position in a big magazine and you maintain your own blog for fun? That is fine.
4. Your contact e-mail is from your current employer
Nothing will say “I am bored and search for other jobs on my company paid time” like this example. If you don’t own the company it is a poor form to do your job search on your current company e-mail.
Separate work and home. Always have your personal e-mail and do your job searches on it. But also remember to have a good looking e-mail. E-mail addresses like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org are simply not going to fit a serious profile.
5. Small irrelevant jobs from 10 years ago
As said earlier your resume is not an autobiography of your whole life since you graduated high school. It is a document used to market yourself to your target audience. Unless it’s not absolutely relevant to your audience do not include each and every entry job that you had. Working for McDonalds for 2 months 6 years ago or being on a plantation gathering strawberries during the summer of 2002? It’s totally OK to leave some of your life history off the resume.
For each job you had before think what did you achieve and what did you learn that could potentially help you out in your future position. Showcase only the relevant stuff. I have seen a resume of a person with 15 different jobs changing each 2-3 months. This does not speak well about you.
Now this is a must for every person writing his resume. Never ever lie about things that you write inside of your resume. It is totally ok to leave out parts that you are not necessarily proud of but lying will sooner or later play a bad joke on you. Things like grades from school or your work experience should be absolutely honest. It’s always better to have a lower standard resume than a fake one. Looking like a big shot makes employers think if these achievements are real in first place. Then they will make a check and trust me in our digitalized time it’s much easier than you think.
Make your own strategy. Think what will look good and what wont on that resume and do accordingly. Make yourself a plan to show your full potential instead to fill it with lies that don’t add up to each other. Whatever you do, do not lie.
7. Design and look of the document itself
There is a fine line between making your resume look more eyes catching and transforming it into a Van Gogh painting. Not that I have anything against Post-Impressionism but my point is those two things need to be separated. For real. I have seen resumes looking so strange and so weird it almost makes you publish it to a news agency. There was this photo format file that looked like a Japanese doll with small bubbles of text around her. Let’s just say that didn’t result to a hire.
Keep it simple and sharp. There are plenty of templates on the internet where you could just fill in your information and they create automatically a pdf file resume that you would love. If it’s not targeted towards audience that is more interested in your autistics please do not turn your own personal marketing file into a Kardashian. We all know what sorts of people are attracted to that.
It is not easy to write a realy good resume.
A person tends to be quite proud of his professional accomplishments and outside work interests. But there is a bottom line that is basically – “everything needs to be working on your resume”. Just be objective, cut off the fancy and fluffy stuff and do not mention your personal collections or weird habits. Write it smart and include only professional information that is relevant about you – the person that wants to grow into this new position.