You’ve finally made the decision to start your job search. While it may be tempting to jump back into the market, it’s important to ensure you have everything you need to lead a successful search. This starts with a strong resume.
To make a positive first impression on an employer and increase your odds of landing an interview, there are hundreds of resume writing tips to choose from. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to separate the facts from fiction. However, there is some advice that most experts agree on: a flawed resume can mean a missed opportunity.
When it comes to mistakes, it’s important to avoid these 5 at all costs:
- Don’t lie
Getting caught lying about information included on your resume can do more than cost you the job. On top of that, it can lead you to become blacklisted at specific employers. As a result, do not embellish certain parts of your resume to try and stand out amongst competition. This especially relates to fabricated employment dates, misconstrued titles or responsibilities, or inaccurate information about your education. This information can be easily verified by the employer, especially if you can’t perform the functions of the job, so be honest about everything you include on your resume.
- Don’t rely only on spellcheck to catch your errors
While hiring managers review your resume to evaluate your professional experience, they also pay close attention to a candidate’s level of professionalism in delivering supporting documents and materials. If your resume contains misspellings, typos, or punctuation errors, this will raise red flags to hiring managers, as it demonstrates a lack of attention to detail. As a result, instead of relying solely on your computer’s spellcheck to spot grammatical and syntax errors, have someone read your resume with a fresh set of eyes to catch things you might have missed.
- Don’t go overboard with style formatting
Using additional styling and formatting to give your resume some character is a strategy many job seekers employ. However, candidates rely too much on creative designs and styling to help their resume speak to their professional abilities. While there is no one way of putting together a resume, there are certain resume writing tips you should rely on to avoid being overlooked for an opportunity. For example, steer clear of using multiple fonts and sizes, try being consistent with bullet point usage and use white space strategically.
- Don’t include irrelevant information
It can be tempting to find other ways to sell yourself in the hope of standing out. However, beefing up your resume with irrelevant information that doesn’t pertain to the job you’re applying to, may only hurt your chances. For example, listing current activities and hobbies you’re interested in, providing honors and awards you received over 5 years ago, or including courses that have nothing to with the job, will only distract the hiring manger from your most relevant qualifications. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend saving certain personal and professional antidotes for a face-to-face interview. Along similar lines, it’s best to be strategic about the experience you list if you have less than 10 years of experience. While a two-page resume is not a deal breaker, hiring managers should be able to get a snapshot of your experience quickly. If your resume is too long, this will be difficult to do.
- Don’t rely on a “one resume fits all” approach
Too often, job seekers make the mistake of relying on one resume to speak to every position they will eventually apply to. One of the most important resume writing tips to keep in mind is to focus on tailoring your resume to the position you’re applying to. Taking this approach illustrates to hiring managers how your professional experience aligns directly with the needs of the role you’re applying to, which may increase your odds of getting an invite for an interview.