I’ve seen thousands of resumes over the years and sometimes I just wanted to call a person and ask if they really even read their resume before they sent it in.
Here are some of the most common mistakes I’ve seen:
Plenty of Misspelled Words
With the availability of spell checkers today on computers there shouldn’t be any misspelled words on resumes. It’s a matter of taking the time to use the spell checker. I know we all get in a hurry. I’ve been guilty of this myself. Only had I taken the time to run a spell check I would have discovered my spelling errors. Some recruiters and hiring managers will let one or two misspelled words go but more than that and you’ll be screened out.
Poor Use of Grammar
No, you don’t need to be a wordsmith but you do need to make sure that you’ve used the correct tense of verbs and that your sentences sound right. One of the best ways to catch grammar errors is to read your resume out loud. Chances are if you stumble on a sentence, the recruiter and hiring manager will too.
No Experience Related to the Job
If you’re not qualified to do the job, then don’t apply. But if you have experience related to what’s required on the job description, make sure your resume reflects that experience. Take off any experience that isn’t applicable to that job. Yes, that means you’ll need to match your resume to each job that you apply to. If the recruiter can’t tell if you have the experience, you’re going to get screened out.
Long Gaps in Employment
If you have gaps in your employment you’ll want to make sure you address them either in the cover letter or the resume. Just because there are gaps doesn’t mean you’ll get screened out as long as there’s an explanation. If you don’t provide an explanation, you will get screened out.
The Novel Resume
Resumes that are five or more pages will get screened out. Even if you have that much experience, hiring managers want to see that you can convey your experience in a more concise manner. Not only that, but recruiters spend on average about five minutes looking at your resume. For the more experienced worker, keep your resume to three pages.
No Contact Information
I’m always amazed when I see a good resume that doesn’t include any contact information. Remember, you want to make it easy for the recruiter to call you. You might have a good resume but if there’s another candidate with an equally good resume and with contact information who do you think will get the call.
Keep in mind that your resume is your marketing tool. It’s the first thing a recruiter is going to see that will sell you as being qualified to do the job. A little more time and effort up front might just mean that you’ll get the offer.