Thursday, May 19, 2011

5 Common Resume Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Have you been sending out resumes for jobs you are well-qualified for and not getting any response? Usually, when this happens, the fault lies with the resume. Think of your resume as your calling card that you allow to speak for you when you can not be there. Ask yourself, what is your resume saying about you? Make sure your message is loud and clear by avoiding these common issues.

Poorly Organized or Hard to Read Formatting
Your resume gets an average of 10 to 15 seconds of attention from the hiring manager. If it is too difficult to read, is unorganized, crowded, or has font smaller than 10 points, chances are a hiring manager won’t make the effort. Ensure there is plenty of white space on the resume to increase readability. Use formatting such as borders and bolding key areas to lead the eye through the resume.

Speaking in Job Description Language
Once upon a time, a resume was simply a description of your every day duties. In today’s market, this approach will not get you an interview. To ensure your resume is effective, you want to tell about the benefits you have to offer the company and what results you have achieved. Speak in action-oriented words and avoid phrases such as “responsible for” and “duties included.”

Typos or Spelling Errors
One typo, one misspelled word, or one misused word can mean your resume gets put into the “NO” pile. Your resume must be perfect and free of errors. Don’t rely on spell check to catch your errors. Many of the most common errors (using manger instead of manager OR using your instead of you’re) will not be caught by spell check.

Generic Resume
There is no such thing as an effective generic resume. If you take the time to tailor and focus your resume to the individual company and job, you will be more likely to get a call back. In fact, it has been proven that 10 focused resumes will get more calls for interviews than 100 generic resumes. Only include information that is relevant to the position and company for which you are applying. The more irrelevant information you include, the harder it will be for the employer to locate the “good stuff” that is most relevant to them.

Red Flags
Red flags are a danger to a resume. Some examples include large gaps in employment of more than one year, excessive amounts of jobs in a short period of time, lack of dates for your work history, going back more than 10 years in your work experience, and evidence of specific religious or political affiliations. You never want to lie on your resume, however there are ways to camouflage or explain these issues. Check back next week for more information on this subject.

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