When you sit down to create a professional, eye-catching resume, you want to make sure that you’re doing all you can to promote yourself to potential employers effectively. There’s a lot on the line here, and those who do a great job at building a fresh, compelling resume are the ones who’ll find the best work opportunities in their field of choice.
With as many different resume styles and formats that exist, it can be difficult to know what information to include, in what order, and in what way. A lot of job seekers will look to examples of great resumes to get ideas for what to add, but another approach is almost as useful: learning what resume mistakes to avoid.
A great resume shouldn’t just make you look attractive to a potential employer; it should send a message that you’re attentive to detail and mindful of how you communicate with words. So, to put your best foot forward in your initial discussions with a company considering hiring you, be sure to avoid these five most common resume mistakes.
Mistake #1: Not including a ‘summary’ section.
Before you begin listing your prior jobs, education, or professional accreditations, use two or three sentences to describe who you are and what you’re looking for. A summary section can also be considered an ‘objective’ section, as it succinctly states what your employment goals are. The reason a summary section is so important is that it gives the reader an at-a-glance understanding of who you are and what value you might offer as an employee.
Mistake #2: Using more than two pages.
The entire idea behind a resume is to provide a simple, fact-based presentation of a job candidate to a prospective employer. Regardless of how long your work history is or how many professional certificates you have acquired, your entire resume should be able to be condensed into a document no longer than two pages in length. Keeping to this length makes the resume readable within just a few minutes, and it shows respect for the reader’s time by not droning on and on or including irrelevant data.
Mistake #3: Writing paragraphs with complete sentences.
If there’s one thing that resume readers love, it’s a bulleted list of information. They also love quantifiable facts, so when you combine these two things, the result is a premier resume that will truly impress. Instead of writing thick paragraphs with complete sentences, use brief, to-the-point descriptions of your work history and work-related skills, and use bulleted lists as often as possible. When you write long paragraphs, you’re forcing the reader to commit unnecessary time to extract the key points they need to know to decide considering you further.
Mistake #4: Including social media profiles, non-professional organizations, or ‘hobbies and interests’ section.
Unless you work in a creative capacity and your social media profile is designed to showcase your work, there’s just no need to include it in your resume. Additionally, there’s no good reason to include a list of what clubs or groups you’re a part of if those organizations aren’t relevant to your job skills. Lastly, according to a leading career coach, ‘hobbies and interests’ aren’t really of any real importance to hiring managers and HR personnel; they’ll learn more about how you like to spend your downtime after they’ve hired you.
Mistake #5: Not checking for spelling and punctuation errors.
Nothing turns off an employer more than spelling errors on a resume. If you’ve misspelled something on a document that represents you as a person, what kind of message is that sending to the hiring company? In today’s era of spellcheck and Dictionary.com, there is no good reason for a resume to contain any spelling or punctuation errors whatsoever. As you complete your final revision of your resume, go through it with a fine-toothed comb and seek out every last typo and misspelled word.
With the right diligence and attention to detail, virtually any resume can be transformed into a professional, concise tool for job seekers to use to improve their chances of getting hired. By avoiding these five common resume mistakes, you’ll be setting yourself apart from the competition and showing your future employer that you’re an ideal employee.