Five common resume mistakes to avoid

October 26, 2018

Your resume is the first impression you make on a potential employer. They usually give it a 30-second glance before deciding whether your skills, achievements, and professional background are suitable enough to make it to the next round, most probably the interview.

I’m sure you’re excellent at listing your previous job experiences and showcasing your strength on paper. However, unfortunately, we all fall into certain traps and commit resume faux pas. To help you steer clear of these, and maybe give your current resume a tweak, here are five common resume mistakes you should avoid, at all costs.


  1. Highlighting duties instead of achievements

Sure, we all copy paste our job description into our resume; it’s probably filled with boring generic terms, things that really don’t mean anything if you’re truly honest with yourself.

A potential employer doesn’t care about all of that. They want to know what you’ve accomplished instead, and what impact you’ve had on previous organizations. For example, did you coach a team of 5 sales reps and therefore helped the company’s revenues increase by 20 percent? Did you develop a new set of policies that helped the organization have more effective procedures in place? Mention all of these, and use facts and figures to back up your claims.


  1. Forgetting about key words in your text

Many businesses use special tracking systems to filter through the thousands of applications they receive daily. They’ll ask the system to detect candidates with the specific skills and education they’re looking for.

Hence the importance of including important keywords in your resume. Of course, I do believe in slightly tweaking your resume for each type of job you apply for; it’s a pain but it’s necessary.  Moreover, go over the job description and see which words stand out for this particular role. Then go back to your resume and see whether you’ve included them. Maybe you’ve used a synonym, or a similar term; switch it to the actual word used in the job description. How sad would it be if you were perfect for the job, yet the silly technology ruled you out simply due to your choice of words! Don’t make that mistake.


  1. Making grammatical and spelling mistakes

This is a mega pet peeve of mine. I even hate when people make spelling mistakes in their WhatsApp messages. (just ask any of my friends, they’ll tell you how annoying I am) You’d be surprised at how many resumes I’ve seen with horrible spelling mistakes. Oh-My-God!

First of all, proof read, proof read, proof read. Start backwards even, from the bottom of your resume. Ask a couple of friends to read it as well and spot any mistakes. Don’t rush to finish your resume and send it off to a recruiter. Trust me, the first impression you make is so very important.


  1. Having an unprofessional personal brand

We live in a digital age. Hence your resume isn’t the only thing a potential employer will see. They’ll see your Facebook page, your WhatsApp profile picture, any articles you’ve published, basically anything out there that has your name on it.

Take some time to make sure your overall personal brand is clean and polished. Have a professional email on your resume, not or some variation with your pet’s name in it. Make sure you don’t look intoxicated in all your pictures online, don’t have controversial tweets (#dontbelikeTrump), you get the point.


  1. Making your resume visually too busy

If you’re using five different fonts, you’re likely to give anyone a headache. Use formatting techniques like bullet points and short paragraphs to enhance readability. Try to think like an employer, what would they want to see specifically? It’s okay if you have to cut off certain parts of your work experience if it’s not relevant to the job you’re applying to.

Finally have a couple of friends look it over as well and use their criticism constructively to adjust accordingly. If your resume is a breath of fresh air, you’ll be more likely to get called for that coveted interview.

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