Resume writing can be daunting. You’re expected to cram your entire life, skills, and accomplishments into a few pages. Even if you’re an accomplished person with all the excellent skills your recruiters are looking for, your presentation can be the deal-breaker that could cost you the job.
Check out 10 resume writing mistakes you need to avoid
1. Overdoing It
When it comes to resume writing, overdoing it is the number one sin. Your resume should not become a novel that your recruiter has to settle down to read. They probably get tons of resumes, and their desks are teeming with hundreds of other applications.
You do not need a resume of six pages. If you’re gunning for the “I’m highly qualified” impression by boring your recruiter with pages and pages of words, chances are your resume would not even make it to the screening phase before they throw it into a bin and move on to the next.
So, what can you do? Well, that’s easy. Keep it simple. When it comes to resume writing, the golden rule is keeping your resume as short and straightforward as it can be. The best bet is to get your resume written in no more than two pages. That’s right! Two!
CEOs, Directors, and hotshot Managers mostly have their resumes no longer than two pages. It’s possible you just have to be deliberate, so the reader doesn’t doze off while reading through.
2. Lazy Formatting
Do you have your entire resume written as a long continuous block of text? Is everything just typed in a monotonous unending stream of the same font with the same size? If you answered yes to those two questions, you need to think again.
Now that you’re at the drawing board again, here’s something you should know: Your resume should never for any reason at all look boring.
We’re not asking for you to be a design master here or get a crash course on Canva or Adobe InDesign. What we are asking you to do is to go for a clean, classy, and elegant design with your resume.
Adding too many bullets is an automatic no-no. But, opt for simple elegantly subheadings and only use bullets when it is totally necessary. It might be tempting to go for fonts like Times New Roman, fonts like Verdana, Arial, or Calibri are neater and easier to read.
3. Being a Buzzword Junkie
We have all been at that stage where we thought throwing in a bunch of buzzwords was cool and impressive. Using words like “synergy and “helped to boost” or “effectively optimized” might sound and look great on paper, but to most recruiters, those words do not mean much.
You need to be specific. Alright, you were captain of a problem-solving team, and then what? Instead of saying that, include specific tasks that your team accomplished.
“I led a problem-solving team of 15 people to optimize the branding of the company, gaining a 54% increase in marketing and revenue.” How does that sound?
4. Having An Already-Made Resume For The Job
It is really easy to have an already-made resume template for every job. You have that one document on your desktop screen that says “resume template” so when you have to type a resume, you just go to your template and fill in the blanks.
If you do that, here’s an SOS call to STOP! Every application is unique, even if it’s for the same position. Every job and every company or establishment is unique. You can’t include the same skillset for company A in your resume for company B.
Company B may not care about what company A cares about. Don’t make your resume a “vanilla” resume. Customize your resume for the job and company you’re looking forward to working with. If you are a pro at Excel, but it’s not useful to the post you’re applying for, then it’s unnecessary.
Resumes are not one-size-fits-all. Remember that.
5. Telling and Not Showing
If your resume is filled only with what you can do and not what you have done, you’re not doing something right. You need to be specific and intentional about your accomplishments and not just your duties.
Like you read in number three, saying that you spearheaded a project is not good enough. What did you achieve?
You attended conferences and went to important meetings, you were head of one team or the other and held some position doing some duties. Great. What did you accomplish?
Rather than telling them what you were hired to do, show them what you did instead. Lay your results out on the table and get them interested in what you have to offer.
Show not tell.
6. Adding Personal Information
This is a common mistake that people make all the time. If you’re guilty, there’s absolutely no need to feel bad. Now is the time to correct it.
When you’re writing your resume, your recruiter really does not need to know how many children you have or how many cats you own. Mentioning your primary school is absolutely irrelevant unless you did something extraordinary that is entirely relevant.
All you’re doing is cluttering up your resume and we already established that simplicity is key. Include only relevant information.
7. Listing In Chronological Order
Statistics have discovered that recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds scanning through a resume. Which means you have 7.4 seconds to catch their attention.
Listing out your accomplishments and skills in chronological order is basically shooting yourself in the foot. WHY? Because unless mentioning the clubs you were involved in secondary school, and the university is absolutely relevant, you don’t need to do that.
Put the important interest-catching things at the very top. You need your recruiter to be interested in what you have to say. It’s quite alright to include all the wonderful things you have accomplished and show off just a little, but make sure that the most important and relevant are stacked up higher.
You want to captivate them from the get-go.
8. Writing In The Third Person
Writing your resume in the third person is an almost unforgivable error. Speaking about yourself like “She was the head of the…” is a no-no.
Your recruiter wants to hear directly from you. It helps you connect with them better.
9. Unprofessional Email Address
If you are applying for a job with your resume and your email address says that you are a cute, cool guy or lady, you need to fix it. “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” is not going to cut it. Get a professional email address, preferably with your full name.
10. Spelling and Grammatical Errors
This one is a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at the number of resumes with grammatical and spelling errors. Invest in proofreading tools like Grammarly and Wordrake. You’ll be happy that you did. Ask other people that you trust to review. They see more.
There you go, ten mistakes to avoid in your resume.