Your resume is the first impression you’ll make on a hiring manager. As such, its goal should be to capture the recruiter’s interest long enough that they read the document to the end.
Unfortunately, silly mistakes can get in the way. Did you know that hiring managers spend six seconds reading a candidate’s resume before making an initial decision about fit? Or that one in five recruiters will reject a candidate before they’ve finished reading their resume?
Don’t make your first impression your last impression. Avoid these six resume mistakes:
1. Don’t Be a Cliché
It’s tempting to fall back on tried and true turns of phrase in your resume, but candidates who use clichés to describe themselves and their work aren’t doing much to impress recruiters.
Don’t say you are “results-driven”; instead, outline the results you’ve achieved in your resume by using facts and figures. Never call yourself “seasoned”; it can make you sound older than you are. Never, ever call yourself a “hard worker,” unless you want the hiring manager to shudder.
More than 50 percent of recruiters say they reject candidates whose resumes are full of clichés. Do your best to find fresh language to describe yourself and your talents.
2. Check for ‘Spelilng amd Grammer’ Mistakes
This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many resumes end up in the trash thanks to careless mistakes. Fifty-nine percent of recruiters say that they will reject a candidate because of poor grammar or a spelling error. Though these mistakes seem small, they indicate that a candidate may be careless and sloppy.
Read through your resume at least three times. Then, have a trusted friend edit it. Finally, run your letter though a free online grammar-checking program like Grammarly to be sure you’ve caught all potential errors.
3. Clean It Up
Your resume is a professional document, not an art project. Photos are never necessary, and fancy fonts can make you look unprofessional. Stick to simple fonts like Calibri or Arial. Use bullet points for readability, and use a consistent layout throughout the document. Also, try not to exceed two pages at the maximum.
4. Make It Action-Packed
Skip the flowery language and superfluous words. Use active verbs to describe your accomplishments. Avoid passive language and industry jargon. Clean, simple language that explains your experience and numbers to showcase your accomplishments will go a long way.
5. Keep It Real
Never inflate your job description to make yourself sound more important or skilled than you really are. Recruiters know how to smell a rat. Plus, with background and reference checks, you will likely be found out. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to your resume.
6. Clear the Clutter
It’s great to have varied work experience, but your resume should be tailored to the job to which you are applying. To that end, don’t clutter it up with unrelated job titles. Instead, focus on the roles that directly relate to the application at hand. Reorganizing your resume to put the most relevant positions up top can also help focus the recruiter on your most valuable experience.
LiveCareer develops tools to help job seekers write resumes, draft cover letters, and prepare for interviews.