Looking for a job is tough, but it becomes exponentially harder if your resume is not up to snuff. Your resume is, in many cases, the first impression that you are giving to a company. The hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t know any of your great qualities, and they never will if your resume doesn’t get their attention. Even a small mistake on a resume can send the message that you don’t pay attention to detail. What are the major offenses that will get your resume thrown into the paper shredder or recycling bin?
1. The resume is too long. If above the recommended length, you are demanding too much time and attention from the recruiter before proving yourself. Keep their interest, and keep it short! Every 10 years deserve 1 page – don’t surpass this limit, no matter how tempting it might be. If there is something you feel you must share, put it in a separate cover letter.
2. Tiny font. A page for 10 years is not a lot, but just because you want to fit things in, don’t make the font small. Being legible to your eyes is not enough; people have different levels of comfort with small text, and if they need a magnifying glass or to dig out their glasses, or generally strains their eyes, they will likely move onto a more pleasurable read. Don’t assume they will go over it in detail. Make it easy on the reader to maximize your chances of success.
3. Too much creativity disrupting the accepted template. Recruiters and hiring managers are conditioned to look at resumes in a certain way. You can switch things up, but don’t turn convention on its head. You will irritate them by making them take too much time to find the key information points.
4. Regurgitating job descriptions. Don’t copy and paste every job description you’ve had on your resume. If you have a common job title, a reader in your industry will understand your responsibilities without an explanation. Instead, use this space to discuss your accomplishments and the value you brought to your prior employers. How much did you sell? What records or goals did you shatter? Tell the story of your results and success rather than listing duties.
5. Not adding sufficient contact information. Different companies like to communicate differently – accommodate this reality by being easily accessible in many ways. Phone number and email are essential, and as many companies will be checking on your social media, include the links to your profiles to make their job easy.
6. Spelling mistakes. Errors in spelling is a surefire way to show that you are not someone who pays attention to detail. In some fields, a spelling mistake on a resume might kill your chances completely.
7. Making company errors on cover letters. While customization is a great idea, be very careful that you are sending the right company names and not mixing up your cover letters. Sending a cover letter with the wrong company name on it is worse than forgoing the cover letter.
8. Keyword spamming your resume. Don’t put white text on your documents to make it past automated filters in hidden corners. If you can’t include a keyword legitimately in your text some way, leave them out. Put it in your future interest section if you absolutely must have a certain keyword, but don’t try to get past filters with spam. Recruiters will catch on, and they won’t be impressed.