Resume Writing Mistakes to Avoid

While resume writing is an integral skill for successfully breaking into the job market, not everyone has exposure to it in a formal setting. Many are forced to take matters into their own hands to craft a resume that is a static representation of who they are professionally. I’m sure many of you are no strangers to the countless articles and blogs that scratch the surface of the tools you need to land a job. If you are taking the DIY approach to formulate your resume, make sure you are cognizant of the following recommendations:

  1. Font choice: Consider sticking with the traditional Times New Roman. Drafting your resume is not the time or place to get creative with text. Font sizes can range from 10pt. to 12pt. No more, no less.
  2. Formatting: I mentioned in my last article that the rule of thumb for the length of a resume is 1 page for every 10 years of experience. Reevaluate your content and decide what verbiage is truly important. Draft just a few clear and concise sentences describing your former experiences. This is a perfect place to highlight specific accomplishments. Make sure the most relevant information is offered from the top down.
  3. Limited Content: There is such a thing as not enough information. Recruiters screen resumes quickly to find the key qualifiers they need to consider you further in the process. Ensure that your skills, experience, and credentials pertinent to the role are listed and easy to identify. Use standard industry verbiage.
  4. Personal Information: Don’t share information that would be a potential violation for recruiters under the many laws enforced by equal employment regulators. Recruiters avoid asking about your personal life for a reason. If you choose to volunteer it, you may notice your recruiter not acknowleding what you’ve divulged. Depending on the market, pictures can also make a recruiter pretty uncomfortable. This is a professional document; save your photo for LinkedIn.
  5. Typos: Your resume should be groomed with a fine tooth comb before being submitted to someone who can make or break your candidacy. After utilizing spell check you should enlist the help of friends and family to read through the document to make sure it is devoid of punctuation, spelling, and/or grammatical mistakes.
  6. Contact Information: The point of submitting an application for a job is to be contacted, right? When resumes are submitted that have little to no contact information, it makes it difficult to reach out. Your resume should have your first name, last name, street address, city, state, phone number, and email address at a minimum. If you are willing to relocate, let us know on your resume.
  7. Gaps: Your resume does not have to be a transcript of every job you’ve held over the course of your life. Most resumes today only list experience that makes sense for the opportunity at hand. Recruiters will ask about gaps in employment so if we notice a stretch of time where you were seemingly unemployed, you can beat us to the punch with a short and sweet reason. Be prepared, chances are we will ask about that too.

The 8th deadly sin is expecting that even in its perfect state, your resume will land you an interview. There are a number of factors that go into the decision making process for candidate selection. You may have a stunning resume but if your skills, experience, location, expectations, etc. are out of alignment with the position, it is highly improbable that you will be contacted. Now that you have taken the time to make your masterpiece, don’t squander it on roles that make no sense. Target positions that excite you and for which your qualifications match at least 75% of the job description.