Common Resume Mistakes You Need To Avoid

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.

3. Oversharing

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.

How to write a stellar resume

Many people fear writing a resume. Some people fear to make mistakes, and others fear the possibility of rejection. All too often, though, people fear the writing itself. If fear has made you put off writing your resume, let’s try to put that fear to bed. You can write a stellar resume by following a few basic guidelines that we’ll cover right now.

Hit the Essentials

Every resume must cover certain ground. You must include any relevant education, licenses, or credentials. You need a work history, although you can generally keep it to the last ten years. Don’t forget to add your contact information.

Takeaway: Not hitting the essentials makes you look unprofessional, but now you know what you need.

Get to the Point Quickly

Whether your resume goes through an HR department or to a hiring manager, it’s landing in front of busy people. Don’t make them work to understand your meaning.

For example, don’t write: “Provided supervisory oversight for a project team that ultimately delivered a boost in revenue of $500,000.”

Instead, write something like: “Managed project team that created $500,000 in new revenue.”

Highlight Recent Accomplishments

If you’ve been in your industry for 15 years, you’ve got a lot of experience behind you. Don’t try to fit everything you’ve ever done onto the resume. Highlight recent accomplishments. Did you step into a supervisory position and finish a job during a crisis at your last job? Mention that.

Takeaway: Highlighting recent accomplishments sends the message that you aren’t just phoning it in every day.

Reuse Keywords from the Job Description

Many people stumble on this one. Keywords are just important phrases, usually related to a skill or industry jargon. For example, a warehouse might mention a specific software program they use for inventory management. If you know that program, mention it by name on your resume. Including these keywords makes your resume more likely to get to the interview phase of the process.

Look at Other Resumes before You Start

New to the job search process? Never written a resume before? If this is you, the process can prove difficult because you don’t know where to start. The easiest way to get a handle on writing a resume is to look at other resumes. The good news is that there are tons of free example resumes all over the Internet that can help guide you while you write your own.

Takeaway: It always helps to see how someone else has done something successfully.

Don’t let writing anxiety or other fears stop you from pursuing a better job. You can write a stellar resume. Hit the essentials and be concise. Highlight any recent accomplishments. Work in some keywords. If you struggle to get started, look for some examples online. Before you know it, you’ll have a stellar resume.

Once you prepare your stellar resume, it’s time to look for jobs. Check out Gallman Consulting career opportunities and we’ll help you place that resume with the right employers.