June 1, 2017

5 Big Mistakes You Are Making on Your Resume


Crafting a resume that stands out from the crowd is no easy feat. To do so, you must first understand the principle objective of any resume: not to land your next job, but to open the door for your first interview. Having your resume’s primary purpose clear in your mind will help you focus on what is really important in a resume.

Believe it or not, many candidates still make some very basic errors on their resumes. The following list outlines five major mistakes that candidates make all the time. Make sure you’re not guilty of them yourself!

1. Including Links to All Your Social Media Accounts

You may have a presence on every hot social media network, but is each profile relevant to your potential new employer? For example, if you regularly share personal information and pictures on Facebook, including a link to this page on your resume may not be a great idea.

Instead, it is recommended you include only links to the social media networks that are relevant to the target position. For example, if you use Twitter to share news related to your industry, adding a link to this social profile will be a success.

Bear in mind that according to Jobvite, “93 percent of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profiles before making a hiring decision.” It is therefore important to make sure your privacy settings are properly maintained on all social media sites — especially those you don’t want recruiters to see!

2. Using Boring Resume Templates

There is no harm in using a resume template. The problem occurs when you use a template without making any changes. If your resume looks exactly like everyone else’s, how are you going to stand out?

You should choose a modern resume format that aligns with your industry’s best practices. Then, you can adjust the different sections so you highlight the information most relevant to the job to which you are applying. Doing so will make your resume more attractive to the recruiter’s eye and help them find the information they’re looking for more quickly.

3. Overusing Adjectives and Adverbs Instead of Verbs

paperAccording to a study conducted by CareerBuilder, terms such as “best of breed,” “go-getter,” “think outside the box,” “synergy,” and others are outdated and overused. Instead, candidates should be using more specific action verbs like “achieved,” “improved,” and “resolved,” which more clearly show hiring managers what they have done and can do.

4. Leaving Out Quantifiable Data

Instead of relying on words to describe your last job success, consider including some good-looking numbers. Adding quantifiable results to your resume will do two things: First, it will show recruiters the kinds of amazing results you’ve produced in the past. Second, numbers will catch a recruiter’s attention as they scan the resume, thereby sparking their interest in you.

According to a study conducted by The Ladders, “recruiters spend only 6 seconds reviewing an individual resume.” By using numbers, you can make busy recruiters stop for a second. Then, you’ll have them right where you want them: with all their attention on a relevant section of your resume.

5. Writing a Resume That’s Too Long or Too Short

The perfect resume length is up for debate, and unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in sight. However, according to Laszlo Bock, Google’s former senior vice president of people operations, “a good rule of thumb is one page of resume for every ten years of work experience.”

This means you need to be very concise with your resume. Leave out experience that is not relevant to the job you are applying for. Remember that the objective of your resume is to secure an interview. This means you should summarize your career and demonstrate your top, most relevant achievements. Leave the detailed elaborations for the face-to-face interview.

Maria Onzain is a digital marketing expert who writes about careers, education, ed. tech, and life hacks. 

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Maria Onzain is a content marketing expert for Open Colleges, where she writes about about career, education, EdTech, and life hacks. She is passionate about all things digital and loves social media, startups, traveling, and good food.