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Resume Mistakes To Avoid When Applying For A Job
The job market is a hot topic lately with the number of layoffs happening around the world, but even prior to these job losses, finding and securing a job wasn't easy. Yes there are gross inefficiencies in the recruitment space, and in many cases, it's a numbers game and applying continuously, but did you ever think about what's in your control? Marketing yourself, through your resume, is important for any applicant.
Did you apply to many job applications, but never got a single call?
Do you wonder why?
The explanation is simple - there are faults in your resume.
You might think that it's excellent, but is that the case?
Your resume can lift you up or knock you down in an instant. It would help if you had a resume that beats an Applicant Tracking System and dazzles recruiters.
The smallest flaw ruins the strongest candidate.
Tailor your resume to perfection. Never submit an application with typos or grammar errors. Don't apply for irrelevant jobs. Target roles that suit your professional profile, experience, and education.
Here is a list of the top 10 resume mistakes and hints on how to avoid them.
1. Typos and grammatical errors
Always submit an error-free CV. Proofread several times. Recruiters consider punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes as a sign of incompetence and negligence. Use grammar checking tools such as "Grammarly" to drop the flaws.
2. Lack of specifics
Provide details and specifics about your experience. Write information relevant to your skills and qualifications. Include metrics and accomplishments. Avoid generalization, present an impactful resume example with a compelling description.
- A: Worked in an office as a travel consultant
- B: Worked in a team at a fast-paced travel agency and increased tour package sales by 28% in 3 months.
Both sentences portray the same candidate, but example B makes a higher impact. It shows recruiters your teamwork skills, ability to work under pressure, and sales potential.
3. The universal approach
- Don't waste time and effort on a standard resume.
- Tailor it for the specific job you pursue.
- Apply for positions that suit your professional background.
- Don't try random jobs.
- Show recruiters that you have a genuine interest in working at the organization.
- Convince them you fit their position and meet their requirements.
4. Highlighting duties instead of accomplishments
This is a common mistake job-seekers do. Explain the essence of your previous roles but don't list your general duties. You fill the space with words that have no value to the recruiters.
Here are bad examples to avoid:
- Attended seminars and met new prospects.
- Created travel itineraries.
- Handled office tasks.
- Assisted the general manager.
Recruiters don't want to know your daily work routine. They want to know your accomplishments while on the job. Highlight the impact you brought to a business. Explain how you went the extra mile to get a project or how you improved the office performance with creative innovations.
Check these examples of attractive job statements:
- Create a pitch-deck that attracted an angel investor to the company.
- Worked in a law firm as an office assistant.
- Recycled 68 kgs of unnecessary paperwork and used the funds for new office equipment.
- Wrote a manual that helped the team learn to operate the new machines.
If you are stuck and don't know what to write, question yourself:
- What were the things you did better than others?
- What made you stand out?
- What challenges you faced and how you overcame them?
- What was the outcome?
- How did you help the company grow?
- Did you get promoted or received an award or bonus?
5. The information is too long or too short
There is no universal standard of how long a resume should be. Many job-applicants reduce the content volume to fit on a single page. But they skip important data or include irrelevant statements.
Don't believe stereotypes such as "Your resume is too long, no one will read it" or "Your resume is short, you don't have enough experience". Each resume is unique, like the person behind it.
Focus on content quality rather than length. Ensure that every word you write adds value to your application. Position each section in the right place. Include important details. Don't squeeze to fit in the page; make the page work in your favour instead. Present a concise but detailed resume that sells your skills and qualifications. But don't oversell yourself, stick to 2 or 3 pages.
The content volume also depends on your work experience, education, and training. There are professions that fit a one-page resume such as "Web Designer" or "Office Assistant" and others that need more space like "Quality Assurance Specialist" or "Attorney in Law".
6. Poor summary
First impressions count the most. Write a brief but compelling summary that intrigues recruiters to read your resume further. Don't waste space with overused, general, and vague statements.
- A: "Creative writer who seeks a copywriting position in a reputable company". This statement could end your chances before they even begin. Write an engaging sentence that highlights your personality and experience. :
- B: "Seasoned copywriter with eight years of advertising experience seeking a challenging position with a reputable SaaS company to improve content quality and boost conversion rates."
7. No action verbs
Action verbs are your best friends. They show your resourcefulness, strengthen your resume tone, and recruiters favour them. Use strong action verbs to empower your sentences and highlight your skills and accomplishments.
- Performed a quality check on a new product and launched an advertising campaign that resulted in a 23 % increase in incremental sales.
- Collaborated with the IT department to develop a mobile app that increased customer loyalty by 58%.
- Reduced the Cost Per Acquisition to 18% by implementing a specific marketing strategy.
8. Leaving off important information
Don't leave important facts behind. Mention the part-time jobs you took while studying and the volunteer projects you did. This experience shows you gained soft skills such as teamwork, adaptability, flexibility, empathy, etc. Hiring managers value these qualities.
9. Unattractive look
Apart from correct and concise, your resume should also be attractive to the eye. Use proper fonts and colours. Check the paragraphs and page alignment. Show your resume to friends or family members. Get constructive feedback and revise if necessary.
10. Incorrect contact information
So, you prepared a stellar resume, applied for several great jobs but never got the call? Did you check the contact section of your resume? Many applicants take this part for granted and don't check it afterwards. But a mistyped phone number or email means recruiters can't contact you. Always double and even triple check your personal information. Include links to your LinkedIn profile, personal website or portfolio, and other social media accounts.
Now that you know the ten most common resume mistakes, it's time to get busy. If you have a resume, open and revise it. If you create a new one, follow this guide for an immaculate resume that attracts bots, recruiters, and employers. And the calls for an interview will follow.
About the author
Dimitar Karamarinov is an award-winning digital multi-instrumentalist of background and skill in a wide range of digital medium and multimedia starting as early as 2006. With over a decade of experience in audio, graphic and motion design, along with various forms of marketing, business, and communication, Dimitar Karamarinov grows experience with Entrepreneur Franchise 500, Inc 5000, and multi-continent companies, along with various charity initiatives under his belt.
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