Whether my client is new to the job market or has several years of professional experience, I see critical mistakes on resumes that are preventing talented professionals from getting noticed.
There are many things that may contribute to your resume being overlooked, tossed or simply not considered. Therefore, I decided to devote this post to the 5 common mistakes I see.
5 Common Resume Mistakes
1. Failing to customize your resume to the job.
Nine times out of ten, I see generic resumes that look like they are created to be mass produced. When your generic resume hits an experienced recruiter’s mailbox, it sends a message that you don’t know what job you want or you are desperate to get whatever job you can get. It also screams that that you don’t care to take the time to cater your resume to suit what they are looking for.
Take the time to customize your resume to suit the job in which you are applying. This means using keywords and job experience that is outlined in the job posting. If you don’t take the time to sell yourself, what makes an employer feel confident that you will go above and beyond to do a great job?
2. Writing a “Resume Objective” instead of a “Professional Summary”.
Objectives are good for new grads that have no prior work experience. However, if you have work experience, an “objective” can make you look inexperienced or outdated.
Professional summaries are usually 2-3 sentences that serve as a mini commercial of your years of experience, expertise and attributes. Employers are not interested in what you are seeking. They want to know what you are bringing.
3. Outlining your job responsibilities instead of your accomplishments and results.
Most resumes I review list the job seeker’s job responsibilities, often resembling a job description. Without a list of your accomplishments including results and outcomes, employers don’t know what you can potentially do for them if hired. You should include 3-5 accomplishments for every job you list on your professional resume. This is critical to getting noticed.
4. Dating yourself.
Believe it or not, many of us still put dates on our resumes that tell our age, especially in the education section. Although age discrimination is illegal, you don’t want to provide any information that could present an opportunity for biases. This also includes younger job seekers as well. Some people have biases to younger professionals because they may see them as inexperienced. Therefore, leave graduation dates off your resume.
5. Missing keywords.
It is important to include current keywords for your industry and profession. This is especially important if you have been working in a job for many years or seeking to transition to a new field. Also be sure to include keywords that are stated in the job posting. This will help recruiters find your resume during keyword searches and it also reinforces that you are a fit for the job.
The biggest mistake of all!
Waiting until you need a job to update your resume.
Don’t wait until you need a job to start on your resume. You never know when an opportunity may arise and you will need one quick. A strong resume takes time and nothing is more frustrating than trying to write a powerful resume on short notice. By then, you are rushed and you could miss out on a great opportunity.
With many of us out in the job market, making yourself stand out from the crowd is challenging but imperative. Be sure to avoid these common mistakes and help move your resume to the top.
Your coach, speaker & friend