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Top 5 Resume Mistakes

The majority of hiring managers spend less than one minute reviewing resumes. It has become more important than ever to create a well-organized and well-crafted resume to hold the attention of any reviewer, especially during a tough job market. By recognizing the top mistakes made when writing a resume, you can help yourself stand out in a crowded applicant pool.

  1. Typos are the biggest contributor to a dismissed resume. Take the time to review your finished resume, and review it a handful of times paying close attention to each word. Take care that you’ve spelled everything correctly, haven’t left out any words, and used proper grammar. It can be difficult to review your own writing, especially if you have just completed it, as you are likely to read it as you intended. Putting the resume aside for a day and reviewing it later may help you to catch more errors. Reading the resume aloud is also a good editing tactic as it makes the mistakes or awkward phrases more apparent. Many employers appreciate an eye for detail, and having typos in your resume gives them the impression that your work might be sloppy or careless.

  2. Unorganized resumes that aren’t clear or easily understandable to a reader do not help applicant causes either. Place your experiences and skills near the top of the resume; they are what are most important to potential employers. Make sure the information is organized logically and visually by using bold text and bullet points to differentiate between sections. You don’t want your resume to appear cluttered. Use action verbs when describing your accomplishments. Don’t make your resume too long. Strike a balance between providing every single detail of your previous job experience and looking unqualified. Most resumes should be around a full page in length; information should be descriptive, yet to-the-point and cursory. Feel free to go on to a second page if you have relevant information to provide, especially if you are a more seasoned employee with lots of experience; however, remember that resumes are different from CVs in that they provide an overview and not a comprehensive pictures.

  3. Objectives should be avoided on resumes. Hiring managers and companies care more about the skills and experience of candidates. When applying for a job, both parties (candidate and employer) assume that the objective is for the candidate to obtain a job. Adding this portion to a resume is oftentimes redundant and simply adds space. By removing it, you allow yourself more room to expand upon your accomplishments and hiring managers will have relevant information more readily available, making better use of their time.

  4. The phrase “references available on request” is not advised either. Similar to the objectives section, HR personnel already understand this to be the case. This redundancy takes up space on your resume that you can devote other things. Better yet, simply include contact information for your references at the end of your resume. Having the information presented and available shows that you are a proactive candidate who takes initiative. With the references in front of them, companies are more likely to take immediate action when moving forward.

  5. Dull language will also be glossed over. Avoid clichés and give specifics; being descriptive is key. Instead of saying you are a “team player,” describe how you lead or contributed to a team success. Clearly define the particular skill set that you possess. This will give recruiters an actual sense of who you really are. Refer to the original job posting and incorporate some of their terminology; however, expand upon how it applies to you. Simply copying phrases from the listing and inserting them into your resume without explanation comes across as pandering.