An applicant with a good resume has a good chance of getting the job, but if he or she provides a document that is full of mistakes, it will end up in the trash. The main purpose of a resume is to get the applicant an interview. It will not convince a hiring manager to award the job, and it is not the place for the applicant to tell his or her life’s story. Some things that seem all right to include may not be. For example, including a small white-lie or exaggerating a little about work history may seem harmless, but it’s not. In today’s world, anyone can be back-checked, and any little lie will get the employee fired.
Easily Avoidable Mistakes
Resumes need to be short, well formatted and accurate. Accuracy not only applies to the work history and GPA, it also applies to the language. Spelling, punctuation, noun-verb agreement and other grammatical mistakes are interpreted by employers as a failure on the part of the applicant to care about quality. Typos are another indication that the applicant isn’t detailed oriented or doesn’t care enough to be accurate. When in doubt, it never hurts for the applicant to ask a knowledgeable person to proof read it.
The Job is about the company not the applicant. A hiring manager will be more impressed with a resume that focuses on how the applicant can benefit the company. The hiring manager is not interested in the applicant’s career goals just yet. If the applicant gets an interview, he or she may have the opportunity to talk about career objectives. The applicant should also avoid using a career summary that doesn’t match the new job’s requirements as well as a career objective statement that doesn’t match the job.
Short is sweet. The recommended length of resumes is one page for every 10 years of work experience. This means if the applicant has worked less than 10 years, they should get all the necessary information on one page. It may take some time and effort to decide what is important enough to include. One thing the applicant should not do is use text message or other abbreviations. The main place to cut down text is in work history. It does not require a lot of detail. It also helps if the applicant only lists jobs that are relevant to the position for which he or she is applying.
Resumes should also specifically show how the applicant added value to his or her previous job. Simply giving a job description of the current work does not tell the hiring manager anything about the applicant. If the applicant has important accomplishments in their working past, these should be stated as fact with the numbers to support it and not listed as self-congratulation. He or she must write active statements that showcase relevant skills and accomplishments such as developing a system to reduce plastic waste produced by the company by 30 percent, or producing an email campaign that increased sales by 20 percent.
The applicant may be applying for a job after taking time off work to travel the world, raise a child or go back to college to get another degree. These are all acceptable reasons to be out of work, but they need to be mentioned. If there is a three year gap in employment, the hiring manager shouldn’t have to wonder what the applicant was doing. The explanation need not be given in detail, but a simple line that says why the applicant didn’t have employment for three years is required as a courtesy as well as for the applicant to maintain credibility.
Many jobs require the employee to have confidential information. Most companies don’t want their client’s names, their financial information and ongoing projects advertised to anyone outside the company. If an applicant uses confidential information to make him or herself look impressive to the hiring manager for a new job, they are in for a big surprise. If the applicant will use confidential information from their current job, what will stop them from using it from their new job? Not only does it not impress, it is the second best way to get resumes tossed. The first best way is poor grammar.
If the job application asks for specific information, the applicant must provide it. If they try to avoid it, for whatever reason, the application will most likely be discarded. The applicant should include a specific phrase that will get their document to the next level.
Most resumes have many of the above errors, which is why avoiding them is of great benefit. The applicant who submits an error-free resume will stand out from the other applicants.
By Andre Bradley