There aren’t a lot of things in life that are required to be perfect in my opinion. However, a resume needs to be one of those things. When it has left your computer and made the trip into cyberspace, it should be pristine.
Here are the mistakes to watch out for. They go way beyond grammar but we can start there.
1. Typos and Grammatical Errors
This is the foundation. Everything else builds off of an error-free resume. Your resume needs to grammatically perfect. Errors scream of a lack of attention to detail and caring about the impression one makes.
Amazingly, this happens all the time. Make sure you don’t participate in that zero-sum activity where you lose and someone else gets your ideal job. Spell check and have someone else look at it for you. Fresh eyes are invaluable.
2. Resume Length
There’s not a law about resumes being over two pages or any edict that they have to be that long.
A resume over two pages is not going to be read. The sheer volume will annoy a prospective employer. For that reason alone, I recommend that people never go over that length. Conversely, if you are early in your career, a one-page resume is fine.
3. Words No One Knows
Review your resume for industry acronyms or abbreviations that you know as well as you know your name. Even if you are applying for a job in the same industry, a Recruiter may not be aware of every set of three capitalized letters that are thrown on a piece of paper to impress. Or not.
Not only does every industry have those shortcut phrases, every company does as well. And the latter may have no meaning at all outside the four walls you sit inside currently. Spell it out.
4. Be Specific
This is the time you’ll be happy you kept notes about what you’ve done. Keep digging through your memory bank for great examples.
What have you actually accomplished?
How much revenue did you oversee?
How much growth did your division have last year that you were responsible for leading?
How many people did you successfully hire?
What was something game changing that you implemented?
What project did you complete on time and ahead of budget?
5. Open Strong
Make sure that your objective or summary statement is positioned to attract positive attention. It’s the first thing a prospective employer sees.
An objective statement states what you are looking for in a job. Make sure it is specific and focuses on how you can benefit a company.
I prefer the summary statement that highlights the “best of the best” of you as a package.
6. Good White Space and Typography
A resume should show portions of the page and not wall-to-wall text. It’s too hard to read and ends up looking overly crowded and sloppy.
The most commonly recommended fonts are:
Times New Roman
Now’s not the time to drag out your favorite gothic font or the special obscure one that people can’t read without instructions.
Questions on resumes? Reach out to me! I’m glad to answer them. This is important stuff, after all.
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