Why your resume ends up in the 'round file'
Resume readers hate mistakes on resumes. There are even readers who have told me that if there is even one mistake, typo, or formatting error, they'll dump it. Poorly presented resumes say negative things about your work habits and possibly even your character. Resume sloppiness could imply that you're lazy, unambitious, careless, or simply don't know any better. All red flags to potential employers.
Lies are big no nos too. Remember that your resume is a legal document. If you are hired under false pretentions and found out, you can be fired on the spot.
Check to see that you aren’t making any of these common mistakes that land resumes on the fast track to the recycle bin:
- Spelling mistakes, typos and poor grammar is number one. Read, re-read and have your resume edited each time you make some changes.
- Stretching the truth. Saying you have a degree when you completed only three years of a four year degree program is not legit. Or stretching the length of time you worked somewhere is misleading.
- Exaggerating or misrepresenting your accomplishments. Saying you had a 100% increase in sales when it was a start up product or company may be true. But if you started with $50 and increased sales to $100 you may not be the quality of sales person a company needs and you could be setting yourself up for failure down the road.
- Upgrading your title or number of direct reports. You may have been doing the work of an assistant sales manager but if that wasn't your title then you can’t use it. If the number of people reporting to you varied over the length of the position use a range, “Managed a team of 4-9 CSR’s.”
- Don’t regurgitate a job description word for word. Readers want to see some creativity and professional wonderment reflected with your own words. Keep key words in the writing just not word for word.
- Elongating work periods. If you have gaps between jobs, keep the months out and just use years, lying about the length of the job to fill gaps is totally taboo.
- Remember to list both a phone number and email address. Create a business-like email address, leave cutesy emails for dating sites. Only use a phone number where you have voicemail. If an employer listens to a phone ring endlessly, they're unlikely to call back.
- Ensure you have industries separate from what business you are in. (You are in the manufacturing industry but in the business of sales.)
- There is no need to start sentences with “I” in a resume; the I is assumed.
- Either use periods at the end of your statements or don't; be consistent and uniform.
- Stick to one font and don’t over bold. Your name should be maximum 14 point font.
- Limit your list of interests to three items.
Proofread then have someone else proofread it for you. A fresh set of eyes can spot errors that you don't see because you read what you meant to type - rather than what's actually on the page. You have one chance to make an impression, take your time and take your writing seriously.
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking: How to Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It
Category: Resumes and cover letters