Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Resume Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

The job search market is more competitive than ever these days, and you can’t afford to make any mistakes when it comes to your first impression — your resume. However, thousands of job seekers let the perfect job get away by making small mistakes on their resume. CAREEREALISM.com warns against the most common resume and cover letter mistakes; and with their help, you can ensure that your resume gets out of the trash bin and to the next step in the process.

The first mistakes that happen all too often, CAREEREALISM.com points out, are spelling and grammar errors. When you’re tailoring your resume to a specific job, it can be easy to make these mistakes. To avoid them, don’t rush through your resume as you make changes. Take your time, proofread more than once and have a friend or family member look it over too.

Second, let your resume speak for you as an employee and not just a cog in the wheel that performed his or her daily tasks. That means taking your day-to-day tasks and analyzing your success in performance. Use your resume to show you increased page views to a website or productivity. Essentially, don’t just highlight what you did on a daily basis but what you accomplished.

When it comes to your resume, the format is just as important as content. Fortunately, this doesn’t require you to be an artist or graphic designer. CAREEREALISM.com suggests making sure your columns are aligned, fonts are consistent and white space is minimal.

The average time spent looking at a resume is six seconds — yes, six seconds. In that amount of time, a hiring manager or recruiter isn’t going to be able to get the gist of your three to four-page resume. And just like that, your resume is in the trash bin. Be concise with the information you’re presenting on your resume. Make sure every bit of information is necessary to making the case that you’re the best candidate.

Potential employers love to see numbers on a resume. If you handle a multi-billion dollar portfolio, include that! If you helped your company save on costs, highlight the amount! If you drove an increase in productivity, divulge that numeric information!

Finally, the last thing you want to prevent you from getting a job is an outdated phone number or email address. But CAREEREALISM.com states this happens more often than you think. Before sending off your resume, proofread your contact information as well.

If you have a video resume, you can still apply some of these helpful tips and tricks. For instance, don’t fill your video with useless information, like your high school extracurricular activities. Just as a paper resume shouldn’t be three or four pages long, a video resume shouldn’t last longer than a minute. Also, keep your background clear of anything distracting and dress in professional clothes that you’d wear to an interview.

Whatever your resume format, make sure it screams professional and not total slob. Avoiding common resume mistakes will guarantee that you’ll make a great first impression.

Kathryn Randolph

Kathryn is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a B.A. in English Writing from DePauw University and has five years experience writing for major job search and higher education websites. When she's not writing for the web, Kathryn is hanging out with her new baby girl, traveling, cooking, reading and running. She believes that the perfect job is out there for everyone and hopes to help Spark Hire job seekers discover their career passion and pursue it.