Your resume is the first and often the last thing a hiring manager sees about you. That means you must do everything in your power to avoid getting screened out at the resume review stage of the process. To that end, here are five of the most common resume mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
1. Typos and Grammar Errors
Typos and grammar errors are one of the easiest mistakes to fix. That’s the reason why leaving any on your resume is one of the fastest ways to get cut from consideration. Take advantage of spellcheck and grammar checking features in word processing programs to catch obvious errors. Next, print out a copy and read it out loud to yourself. Seeing it on paper and hearing it can help you spot any lingering mistakes. After that, get someone you trust to read it over and look for errors.
2. Not Customizing Your Resume
Many companies and staffing services use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to identify good candidates for a job. One of the things an ATS does is look for matching keywords. That means it looks on your resume for phrases that appear in the job listing. Let’s say a job listing mentions:
- Prepare bill of lading
- Operate lift truck and pallet jacks
- Oversee shipping activity
Those three phrases should appear on your resume. It kicks your resume to the top of the candidate pile.
A good resume is 1-2 pages. If your resume goes beyond two pages, it means you’re sharing too much information about each job. Remember, you’re sharing highlights about the position and your accomplishments. Maybe you picked up an award or certification at a job. Maybe one of your ideas saved the company a lot of money. Share that kind of information, rather than mundane details.
4. Get Specific
Get specific about what you did, rather than make general statements. Let’s say your last job was in fast food. A bad description looks like this:
“I handled customer service and worked in the grill.”
That description doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything. A good description looks more like this:
“Served as a shift manager, handling customer concerns about their orders, supervising 3-6 workers every shift, as well as operating the cash register and preparing food as needed.”
That description gives specific information about your responsibilities and skills.
5. Contact Information
A shocking number of job applicants get so focused on the jobs and structure of their resume that they neglect their contact information. Some people leave old contact information, and others forget to add it altogether. Make sure your contact information is at the top of the resume and correct.
Mind the Details
Crafting a good resume means that you mind the details. Is all the information correct? Is it free of typos and grammar errors? Does it include key phrases from the job description? Is it specific and concise? By focusing on these issues first, you avoid common resume mistakes and improve your odds of landing an interview.