As a leading provider of professional career services and one founded by recruiters, ResumeSpice has a unique perspective on what hiring managers, human resources, and recruiters professionals do – and don’t – want to see on a candidate’s resume. In such a competitive job search environment, it’s important to not have your resume screened out by avoiding unnecessary (yet, unfortunately) common mistakes.
There are many reasons why misrepresenting your skills and experience is never okay. Aside from the obvious ethical issue, there’s a high-likelihood you will be caught. Not only do recruiters routinely cross-reference a candidate’s resume with their LinkedIn profile to see if key information matches, but don't underestimate how well-connected recruiters and hiring managers are. Part of a recruiter’s job is to be well-connected within the job market ecosystem. Chances are the recruiter probably knows another talent acquisition specialist or manager from at least one of the companies listed on your resume. A simple verification phone call can uncover costly misinformation. Did you move an end date on one of your jobs to cover up a resume gap? You’re better off explaining that gap in your cover letter than taking the risk that it doesn’t pass verification.
Even if you do get the job, companies can come back and let someone go for misrepresenting themselves on their resume or other application materials. See high profile cases such as:
- Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Out After Resume Scandal
- Veritas CFO Quits Amid Resume Roil
- Notre Dame Coach Resigns After 5 Days and a Few Lies
- Unfortunately, the list goes on…
Typos, Grammar, Spelling, and Other Simple Errors
Nothing will ruin your credibility quicker than errors on your resume. Spelling mistakes, grammar errors, even sloppy formatting – can remove your resume from consideration. For some positions, recruiters receive thousands of resumes. Don’t make a simple mistake and give them an excuse to rule yours out and move onto the next candidate.
The team at Resume Spice always recommends having a trusted colleague or friend look over your resume before you submit it. Pick 2-3 people who you know have strong grammar skills. It also helps if you read your resume out loud. Your ear will usually pick up on errors that you miss reading silently.
Gone are the days of resume objectives. They’re typically generic statements that don’t say much about you as a professional or add much value to your candidacy, so why include them? They can actually hurt you in a few ways:
First, recruiters already know why you're submitting a resume – they’re assuming you feel you’re qualified for the role. And an objective statement is typically about your objective; when applying for a job, it’s all about what you can do for the employer.
Second, what if your objective doesn’t exactly match what the employer is looking for? You’ve just unnecessarily ruled yourself out. We’ve yet to hear about a candidate getting a role because of their objective statement, but we’ve seen many passed up because of it.
Lastly, objectives are usually placed at the very top of a resume – prime real estate! Use that space for the meat of your resume, not generic statements.
Comical, quirky, or otherwise inappropriate email addresses
This one should go without saying, but unfortunately it can’t because we see it so often. If you're on the job hunt, you need a professional email account. This is not the time nor the place to express yourself and to show your personality. Ladiesman@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org are not recommended and can quickly land your resume in the “no” pile. For your job seeking email address, go with some variation of your first name and last name. Something like John.Smith@gmail.com will do the job.
Too much detail from positions long, long ago
Recruiters and hiring managers are most interested in what you've done lately – i.e., your last role. After all, it’s how you’ve been spending your time most recently and, presumably, your last job or two are most reflective of your current skill set. If you're a more experienced professional (more than 15 years of experience), you'll want to weight your resume more heavily to your most recent 1-2 position(s). If the last 10-15 years of experience don’t qualify you for the role for which you’re applying, it’s unlikely that a job you had for three years 18 years ago is going to get you the job. Focus on your most recent experience.
Gaps in resumes happen. Whether unanticipated by a layoff or a planned break to travel or move for a spouse, hiring managers understand that most careers are not completely linear and without breaks. However, for gaps longer than a month, hiring managers want to know how you’ve used your time and how you’ve remained productive. A good place to address a resume gap is in the cover letter. For gaps longer than six months, it becomes even more important to address gaps and we recommend doing so, both in your cover letter and within your resume. If you’ve been volunteering, taking classes, and/or doing freelance work, use that to fill in the gap. That’s now a “job” you can put down, with supporting bullets – instead of a blank gap without any explanation or context.
Resume Spice was built by recruiters and can help you avoid making any of the mistakes above, as well as other common resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and interview preparation mistakes. If you're in need of career help or feedback, contact our team today.