The Top 8 Resume Mistakes You Need to Avoid
Special guest blog post by Gavin at RedStarResume
Edited by Belinda Luby
Gavin Redelman is the founder of RedStarResume, known as a career strategist and master of "Achievement Based" resume writing. Recognised as an expert in the field of resume writing and also as a prolific blogger, Gavin has had articles published around the world in newspapers, journals, student and graduate publications and magazines and recently published his third book "Career Secrets Exposed". With a love for what he does, Gavin and his team of writers are passionate about providing every customer with the ultimate first class-treatment. From the student or entry level position to the CEO, their unique, custom-made resumes are written specifically to match the goals and desires of each client to help them land their dream jobs.
Gavin's philosophy is simple: stick to the facts. If in doubt, leave it out!
Here are the top 8 resume mistakes you need to avoid
1. Using abbreviations
Avoid abbreviations! They are unprofessional and not universally accepted. Nothing looks worse on a resume than seeing sentences resembling the following: "Duties included answering the fone and going 2 c clients." Rather than "Duties included answering the phone and meeting with clients."
This is a resume, not a text message or a twitter post. Make sure you use correct words, correct spelling and grammatically correct sentences. First impressions count - make sure your first impression is a professional one.
2. Including irrelevant information
Your resume is a professional document - not a Facebook profile. Leave off anything related to hobbies or personal interests that can't be angled to show how this is relevant to an employer. Instead of a hobby written as "hockey", try "I play hockey for Sydney University Hockey Club and organise the team social events". This shows an employer initiative, organisational and social skills.
If it doesn't relate to employment it doesn't belong on a resume. Information such as weight and height is irrelevant (unless of course you're trying out for basketball team). I have seen resumes where people include their eye colour and comments about their skin ("glowing skin"). Do not give the reader a reason to eliminate you because you have included irrelevant characteristics. Stick to the formula - if it does not relate to the job it doesn't belong on your resume.
3. Including graphics or artwork on your resume
Graduates often feel that in order to be noticed, they need their resume to look like a piece of artwork - doing this can have the opposite effect of appearing unprofessional and amateur. Employers not only want to see skills, duties, and achievements - steer clear of including artwork or design on your resume, and show these talents in an attached portfolio of work instead if this is relevant to the role you are applying for.
3. Displaying negativity
Avoid negativity on your resume or cover letter (and most importantly, in your interview). If you left your previous job because you didn't get along with your boss, don't let this prospective employer know about it. Remember, a resume's job is to promote and sell. Do not get eliminated immediately for displaying negativity.
4. Not including relevant dates
This is such a killer on any resume. Include dates. What years did you go to high school? How long did you go to university? When did you graduate? How long did you work at your current job?
Do not make the person reading your resume have to ask these questions. The minute this happens, your resume is going to one place-the trash bin! Make sure your resume flows and you have no gaps in your dates. If you took a year off to go travelling, include this. When you include dates, don't just include years - include months too. For example, "I worked at McDonalds from 2006-2008"- what does this mean? Did you work for 3 years (January 2006 to December 2008), or for a little over 1 year (December 2006 to January 2008)? Be more specific.
5. Writing long-winded resumes
Long resumes are boring! If an employer sees an extremely long resume, they will immediately develop a negative frame of mind, as some employers have upward of 500 resumes to search through. Remember - resume readers tend to have limited time, especially considering that most graduate recruiters or employers can receive in excess of 100, 200 even 500 resumes for one particular job. Keep your resume succinct and sell yourself well to land in the shortlist pile.
6. Not including your achievements or highlights
Many times I have seen people fill up their resumes with irrelevant information, and they leave off one of the most vital parts of a resume-showing off your highlights and achievements. Most people who apply for the same job can do the standard day to day duties. So what separates the good resume from the bad resume? It's the one that includes achievements and highlights.
It mentions how they were an asset at their previous job. Employers want to see not that you just worked and did a good job, but that you added value to the company. Leaving off your achievements is the best way to get your resume tossed in the bin. Including value-adding achievements, however, is the best way to get your resume put on the top of the list and ensures that your resume application will stand out from your competitors.
7. Making grammatical and spelling mistakes
People read this point and think, "Obviously my resume isn't going to have spelling mistakes and typos." I can tell you from experience that 1 in 5 resumes will make this vital mistake. When an employer has 100 resumes, the first 20 are eliminated because of grammar mistakes or typos. These mistakes are glaringly obvious on a resume. Make sure you use spell-check, but more importantly, re-read your resume. Give it to someone else to read over. Then proof read it again.
8. Trying to sound "too clever"
You may think that using words such as "meticulous," "scrupulous" or "industrious" to describe yourself may make you sound smart. Unfortunately they can have the opposite effect. Your resume is a representation of you. This can appear transparent to an employer- try to include more specific, value adding evidence on your resume.
Avoiding these common mistakes on your resume will see you immediately make a high and positive impact on employers. If you would like still more assistance on perfecting your resume, Gavin and RedStarResume have a special offer to GradConnection blog readers who are interested in trying out their resume service. Use the discount code "GRADCONNECTION" and receive a 10% discount off the price of any of RedStarResumes services.
(Enter the discount code "GRADCONNECTION" in the "Discount Code Box")