Small Resume Mistakes that Will Keep You from Getting the Job

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Your resume plays a big part in your job search success. Without a strong one, you won’t get calls for an interview. Yet, if you’re not a resume expert, it’s easy to make a mistake that can cost you an interview. Just one simple misstep can send the wrong message to a hiring manager.

How do you avoid them, so you get noticed and get calls for an interview? Here are some common mistakes job seekers make:

#1: Creative formats and fonts.

Sure, you want to set yourself apart from other job seekers. However, if you’re using a plethora of fonts and colors, as well as images in your resume – and you’re not a graphic designer – it can count against you. Instead of selling yourself with gimmicks, persuade the hiring managers based on your background and track record of success.

#2: Not customizing your resume.

While we recommend using a proven resume format, the content of your resume should always be customized for the role for which you're applying.

Customizing your resume entails reviewing each job description carefully before applying, taking note of any skills and keywords that match your experience, and writing bullet points that directly speak to those qualifications. For example, if you've worked in both business development and marketing, but you're applying for a purely marketing related role, you're best served by emphasizing your marketing experience and accomplishments in the resume you submit for that role.

#3: Wasting space.

Did you include an objective at the top of your resume or a “references available upon request” statement at the bottom? This wastes the time of the hiring manager and wastes space on your resume that you could use to make the case as to why you’re an excellent fit. There’s limited real estate on your resume, so make sure everything you say has a purpose for being there and a potential benefit.

#4: Describing all your duties…not your accomplishments.

Setting the scene and explaining your role is important. However, the majority of the content on your resume should be about your accomplishments. This doesn’t necessarily mean awards, though it can. Instead, make sure you are getting into specifics about the impact you’ve made in past positions. Include numbers, statistics, and facts wherever you can to bring your background to life and quantify results.

#5: Using unprofessional or outdated contact information.

Be mindful of your email address when sending in a resume. isn’t going to be taken seriously by a hiring manager. If you have an email account that’s personalized, create a more professional one – quickly and easily – that better reflects your work persona. Also, make sure all your contact information is updated and correct on your resume so potential employers know how to get a hold of you.

#6: Incorrect grammar, misspellings and industry jargon.

The language you use on your resume is critical. It not only communicates your experience to the hiring manager but also your level of professionalism. So, if your spelling and grammar aren’t the best, ask a friend or family member to proofread your resume for you.

Also, beware of using industry jargon or over-used clichés – like “go-getter” or “motivated people person” – on your resume. Instead, showcase your skills and abilities with a track record of accomplishments.

#7: Including irrelevant information.

A hiring manager doesn’t care that you love to go antiquing and have a passion for Middle Eastern cuisine. This is the kind of personal information that might come up during an interview, but it’s not appropriate on a resume. While you’re trying to shine, don’t go too far by including hobbies, interests, or other personal details, unless they are relevant to the specific job or organization.

#8: The wrong length.

The one-page vs two-page debate still rages on. The basic rule of thumb, though, is to stick to a one-page resume if you’re an entry-level candidate. If you have some experience, then a two-page resume makes sense and still follows industry best practices. Here's an overview of recommended resume length.

#9: Including a photo.

Don’t send in that glamour shot with your resume unless you are applying for a job as a model or an actor. In fact, if a hiring manager gets a resume with a photo, they will often bypass so as not to appear biased. It’s therefore in your best interest to skip the picture and simply focus on the facts of your background, experience, and why you’re a fit for the job.

Need more help crafting a resume that works?

At ResumeSpice, we can work with you to get to know your background and career goals, so we can develop a resume that gets the best results. We can start from scratch or edit an existing one. You’ll get noticed and get more calls with help from our professional resume writers. Simply call 832.930.7378 or contact us online to get started.