As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and your resume is usually the first impression you give a potential employer. So make sure you’re not making these common mistakes on yours.
1. Attempting One Size Fits All
Employers want you to write a resume specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization. An effective resume leaves no doubt as to the job seeker’s career objective, while a one-size-fits-all resume gives the impression that the job seeker has no specific career goals. If you have more than one career objective, you need more than one resume.
2. Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments
Your resume shouldn’t just be a listing of your past job duties. You need to include quantifiable statements so that employers understand what you’ve truly accomplished. For example, instead of saying:
• Attended group meetings and recorded minutes
• Worked with children in a day-care setting
• Updated departmental files
• Used laptop to record weekly meeting minutes and compiled them in a Microsoft Word-based file for organization’s future reference
• Developed three daily activities for preschool-age children and prepared them for a 10-minute holiday program performance
• Reorganized 10 years worth of files, to make them accessible to department members.
3. Neglecting to Sell Yourself
Job seekers need to remember that a job search is a sales campaign. Your resume is marketing material so make it effective by showing how you can solve problems, save money or increase profits.
4. Going Old School
These days, you need to remember that resumes are screened by both humans and computers. If your resume lacks the keywords that the screeners are looking for, you run the risk of it being tossed aside. The average resume screen takes 15 seconds or less and will look for the same words found in the job description. A keyword-focused resume will put you front and center.
5. Coming Across as Careless or Lazy
Make sure your resume doesn’t contain typos or grammatical errors. If it does, employers will assume you can’t write or don’t care. Speaking of writing, make sure your language is strong. Instead of using wimpy, passive phrases like “responsible for providing IT support,” use action verbs: “Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk serving 4,000 students and staff.”