New Year’s Resolution For Your Resume

Wondering why your job application is not getting an interview call? Ever thought your resume could be the reason? As it happens there are plenty of “all-too-common” resume mistakes that become the deal-breakers. A whopping 70% of recruiters say that the following silly mistakes need to be avoided from a resume which would otherwise cause them to reject a candidate before they have even finished reading their application. This new year pledge yourself to avoid these errors from your resume.

1. A Cut-Copy-Paste Resume

Many a time applicants google and download the resume template or take someone else’s resume and forward it to the recruiter after some basic edits. Such resumes lack originality, and lots of mistakes come along with them. While some forget to edit even their personal details, others deliberately leave some sections like career objectives and key skills unedited. It is said that a recruiter spends an average of six seconds reviewing a resume and such a cut-copy-paste resume can be easily identified by them in these few seconds.

2. Typing, Spelling, Grammatical, and Capitalisation Errors

These errors are the consequences of speedy typing and they shout out one’s lack of attention to detail. Typing and spelling mistakes are inevitable while typing and proofreading is the key here to eliminate those mistakes. We usually prepare our resumes in Microsoft Word. Word highlights the spelling and typing errors with a red underline which can be easily fixed just by a right-click. Ignoring even this quick-fix projects one as a careless and unmindful candidate.

Coming to grammatical errors, it is all right to commit such mistakes as not everyone is a grammar geek. But we can make use of applications and software like Grammarly and plenty of others to keep the grammatical mistakes in check to a great extend. These applications are user-friendly and easy to handle. Even Microsoft Word highlights some major grammar mistakes with a blue underline.

Another mistake that results from negligence is capitalization error. We all know that names are proper nouns and therefore, the first letter should be capitalized. But at times, many seem to ignore this basic rule merely due to carelessness. These basic mistakes that result from negligence are not acceptable from a well-educated and qualified candidate.

3. Fake Information and Lies

Exaggerating the truth or blatantly lying on a resume is a big NO! Candidates commonly embellish their qualifications, experiences, and key skills to suitably match the job description. Falsifying your resume with such lies can be a red flag for hiring because recruiters do conduct a background verification. They can easily access your details from the institutions you have been to, the companies you have worked with, and what’s more, your social media profiles. Once you are caught lying, the consequences can be worse as lying on the resume is a breach of trust and is seen as a severe character flaw.

4. Covering up Your Career Gaps

The misconception among the candidates regarding the career gap as something to be hidden leads them to cover up their employment gap with fake qualifications and experiences. Career gaps are normal and employers usually understand the genuine reasons. Whatever be the reason, be honest and open about it without going into too many details.

5. Sending the Same Resume for All

Your lack of effort shows off when you attempt the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach by creating a generic resume. Each of your resumes should be tailored accordingly to the job you apply for. Employers expect you to clearly show how and why you fit in the post applied for. For example, a teacher’s resume needs to be changed if and when they want to apply for a textbook content creator post, the career objective and key skills should be updated to match the post applied for. Also, add those relevant details from the previous jobs that may be helpful to the new post.

6. Using Short Forms and Chat Languages

In this age of the internet, our fast-paced fingers are accustomed to type internet slang and short forms whenever they hit the keyboard, right? But make sure to keep those slangs at bay from reaching your resume; else you may seem unprofessional to the employer. The same goes for abbreviations. It is always better to spell the words clearly on your resume.

7. Unwanted Information

It may be tempting to include everything about you on your resume, but stuffing it with information irrelevant to the post is a big red marker. Make room for the things that you want your employer to know about you by prioritizing the items that count. 

8. Wrong Contact Information

Imagine you being selected/shortlisted and that message doesn’t reach you! You just cannot blame your fate. By providing incomplete or incorrect contact info, employers will not be able to get in touch with you easily – thus jeopardizing your chances for selection. So what all to include in your contact details?

  • Your complete communication address along with the Pincode.
  • Your personal email id.
  • Your mobile/phone number.
  • If you have a LinkedIn page / personal website, include those URLs too.

9. Poor Layout and Formatting

The golden rule in preparing a resume is to make a good first impression. It should be appealing and tidy so that the reader gets an overview of your resume in a jiffy.

  • Avoid long paragraphs; use bullets and white spaces to make your resume easy on the eyes and for better comprehension.
  • Avoid using multiple fonts and font sizes.
  • Provide ample margins and make sure the sections and texts are aligned appropriately.
  • Format among the section must be uniform in terms of the features used like bold font, underline, similar font size for section headings, and so on.

In short, your resume should be simple, neat, and elegant.

10. A Colourful Resume

Getting creative and artistic with your resume is not a good idea. A resume is a formal document; designing and making it colourful may deem you to be unprofessional. Also, the colours that may seem visually appealing to you may appear very different on other’s screens, which may irk the reader.

  • Avoid high contrasting colours.
  • Provide black text for the resume content.
  • Use features like bold, underline, font size, etc. to make certain texts distinct.

11. Inappropriate Fonts and Font Sizes

Times New Roman and Arial are the commonly used fonts for resumes. But there is no hard and fast rule that only these two shall be used. You can use other professional fonts too. Just make sure to follow these few tips:

  • Choose fonts that are professional, neat, and easy to read.
  • Never opt for any fancy fonts like comic sans or any vintage or decorative styles.
  • Stick to a single font throughout your resume.

Another point regarding the fonts is their size. Too big fonts make you look like you are shouting at the reader. Too small font size may save space but will give the reader a headache. So make sure to use a font size for optimal readability.

12. Sharing Confidential Information from Your Previous Jobs

Details from your older jobs like company deals, client info and so on shall not be shared on your resume as it is against professional ethics. It is a breach of the non-disclosure agreement you may have signed previously. Including such details may lead the employers to doubt your trustworthiness.

13. Incorrect Date

Many times candidates forget to change the date mentioned after updating their resume. Make sure that you insert the same date on which you send the resume to the recruiter. Also, ensure that the date on the cover letter is also updated.

14. A Sloppy Career Objective

Some job seekers just copy-paste a career objective from the internet while some clothes use a generic objective for every job applied. In both ways, you are driving out your employer. Your career objective should be unique and your own. It should mention your aims/goals in your career in line with the job you are applying for. This will pull the recruiter to your resume.

A wonderfully curated resume may or may not guarantee you the job, but for sure even one of the aforementioned mistakes might lose you one. Register these points in your mind so that you can have a thoughtfully constructed resume with carefully placed content. Proofreading will ensure that not even a single word is misspelled and there are no lingering mistakes on your resume. You can proofread yourself or get it done by your friend or any professional resume service provider.

This is not an exhaustive list of resume errors. There are many more but these are the major and commonly repeated silly mistakes that can be dodged easily.

Princy Lukose (Manager-Operations) is the Resume & LinkedIn expert of the Team Evolvers!

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