Mistakes to Avoid on Your Resume

2014-09-08 by admin

Ask any human resources manager or corporate recruiter and they’ll tell you that there are a number of things you should never include on your resume. Unfortunately, they will also tell you that they see these mistakes frequently. In order to stand out and have a better shot at actually landing that job, take note of these common mistakes to avoid on your resume.

The number one mistake you can make on your resume is to lie. And yes, when it comes to professional endeavors, exaggerating is lying. While fluffing up your experience or accomplishments a little bit can be tempting, especially for some who have little experience to begin with, it is never a good idea. Employers can verify all of the information you put into your resume, so it’s best to always be factually accurate. This is not to say you can’t toot your own horn, in fact that is encouraged to some extent, but just make sure you actually did everything you’re saying you did.

Avoid using gimmicks on your resume, but at the same time avoid using the basic templates in common word processing programs. Brightly colored papers, funky borders, and intricate fonts are great for party invitations and family newsletters, but will not impress potential employers. However, many employers also say that using the same word processing templates makes everyone seem the same and no one stands out. The best practice here is to be professional and stream-lined and rely on your actual accomplishments and qualifications to make you stand out.

Don’t go too far back in time. Recruiters and employers will tell you that any work history beyond the last ten years is largely irrelevant to them. They want to know what you’re doing now and what you’ve been doing recently. This is especially important in more progressive industries like IT or media communications. Also, don’t list dates on your degrees if they are older than ten years, unless you have advanced degrees that are more recent. The key is consistency. For example, if you graduated with a Bachelors degree thirteen years ago, but went back to school and just graduated with your Masters degree, list the dates for both degrees. While the one degree is older, the fact that you took initiative after so much time says a lot of positive things.

Many employers also receive resumes that are completely unreadable and disorganized – and the person who sent the resume doesn’t even know because they didn’t take time to make sure their resume still looks professional, is readable, and maintains some semblance of order after it has been copied and pasted into an email, after it has been converted to a different file format, etc. Whenever you make any kind of change to your resume, or when you’ve cut and pasted it, proofread it again. Don’t just assume it turned out well – make sure it did.

If you can avoid these common mistakes on your resume, you are more likely to get noticed by employers and more likely to get that interview leading to a job offer.