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Common resume mistakes that you need to avoid
15 November 2016
“First impressions last”, may be one of the world’s most common clichés, and it can be applied to almost all important life events. Whether it be your first day in the office, going out on a date or meeting your new in-laws, first impressions can really make a difference.
I find that first impressions are never more significant than when job hunting. You need to put your best foot forward, which in this case would be your resumé. It serves as the company’s first glimpse of you, so the better your first impressions are with the reader, the more chances you have of gaining the interview and possibly landing that dream job.
To help in this ‘make it or break it’ moment, here’s a list of some of the most common résumé mistakes I see time and time again, and some tips on how to avoid them.
Grammar is everything
We’re not all literary professionals, and it's easy to make grammatical mistakes. Your résumé, however, should be as close to error-free as possible. I, and many other recruiters, require applicants to have excellent verbal and written skills, so your résumé should be very tidy. Before submitting your file, I recommend having it checked by a trusted friend to make sure that everything is perfect as far as spelling and grammar goes.
Don’t be bulletproof
While reading résumés, I always prefer to read bullet points instead of paragraphs. Hiring managers go through hundreds of resumes, and most likely won’t have enough time to read lengthy paragraphs. Bulleted statements also appear to be more organised and structured, so using them gives your résumé a greater chance of being read thoroughly.
Crafting a résumé is like writing a letter to someone special - you want it to be as personal as possible. Avoid using templates from Microsoft Word, as we can quickly spot them when dozens of other applicants use the same one. This in turn can make yours come across as lacking in effort and imagination.
Be creative, but not too creative
Yes, you want to leave a lasting impression, but using scented papers with colourful ribbons is only going to distract me while I’m trying to learn about your professional career to date. Less is more. Be creative in a way that makes your résumé stand out without any in-your-face-details such as varying font styles and colourful borders.
When stating your hobbies or interests, avoid putting in too much that’s overly personal. Do you want your potential future boss to know that you are out on the town Monday to Friday? It is good to show you are sociable in a work environment, but not as someone who is out every weekend drinking in clubs. To leave a good impression, state hobbies, interests or skills that are necessary or supplemental to the job in question.
Every single item on your résumé is important. You have to provide the correct information - especially when it comes to your contact details. Don't make the mistake of putting a wrong phone number, or misspelling your email address. If I like what I see and try to give you a call to invite you to an interview, an incorrect number doesn’t help either of us.
These are just a few of the most common résumé mistakes I regularly see. You’ll need to avoid every one of them to make sure you come across as having the appropriate skills and references for the job you’re applying for.
Now it is your turn to make a good impression during the interview. Be as genuine and as truthful as possible. Listen and pause to think about your answer, as there’s no point in misleading the interviewer with answers just to impress him or her. Understanding the job role and what’s required is good starting point. Be confident and consistent with your answers. Try to have a few questions of your own as well; about the business, the climate, how you can progress, or how you can climb your way up the ladder for a more influential role.
Mia Alarin is the Finance & HR Director at Transeo, a creative design and marketing agency based in Sydney.
Sydney creative design and marketing agency, Transeo with media and publishing capabilities, provides small to medium businesses with creative solutions to aide with their emerging sales, social media, support services and marketing needs.
Remember the six common resume mistakes you need to avoid:
- Grammar is everything - get someone else to check your resume
- Don't be bulletproof - numbered lists or bullet points can add structure to your resume
- Be creative - personalise your resume for the role you're applying for
- But not too creative... avoid scented paper and crazy fonts
- Too much information - keep it relevant and pick out the important highlights
- Wrong information - especially when it comes to contact details