“Finally done!” you proclaim triumphantly. Your resume is out of your hair and soon to be in the hands of a recruiter.
Oh no! Your glee is short lived. Suddenly, you see two typos. Glaring, embarrassing errors.
Mistakes can drain your resume of credibility – and dampen your job prospects – in a matter of seconds. And every second counts.
We’ve all heard “You only have one chance to make a good first impression”, and that’s never more true than in the case of your résumé. Interviewers tend to be inundated with résumés and many (if not most) only get a very cursory review. In fact, an annual CareerBuilder survey indicated that 45 percent of human resource managers spend an average of less than one minute reviewing an application.
Therefore, it’s critical to get the reviewer’s attention right off the bat – otherwise, most will never make it past the first page.
Take care to avoid these common résumé mistakes:
- Sloppiness – Laziness and poor attention to detail in crafting one’s résumé are the #1 “turnoff”. Examples include typos, unprofessional or irregular fonts, and incorrect or irrelevant information.
- Stating the obvious – Don’t bother including a “References available upon request” line. It’s a given, because most employers require that you provide employment references. (Having said this, proactively offering the employer a detailed reference list during the interview can convey a very favorable ending impression.)
- Failure to communicate your personal contribution – Too many résumés focus on prior job elements rather than the actual contributions made by the job seeker. Create a “Career Highlights” section that briefly recaps your professional accomplishments: key metrics hit, promotions/management recognition, awards and the like.
- Lack of visual interest – Résumés need some degree of formatting enhancements, as reviewers are unlikely to have the patience to read extended commentaries that have no changes in format. At a minimum, ensure that your résumé contains some bulleted items.
- Overly lengthy résumés – most job seekers will be well advised to keep their résumé length to 1-3 pages. Positions held beyond a 10-year time span are of less interest to reviewers and can draw undue (and perhaps unwanted) attention to your age. Instead, have earlier positions available on a separate document, to be provided upon prospective employer request.