Avoiding Some Typical Resume Mistakes

Resume information complexities

If you have ever written a resume for yourself or tried to write one for someone else, you’re probably fully aware of how difficult such a task can be; made even more complicated by the large amount of information that often goes into a resume.

From the individual’s career objective to listing his/her qualifications, a resume should be personal, it should convey confidence and it should be presented in the best possible way to impress a potential employer.

About resumes, cover letters and interviews

However, in view of the fact that creating a winning, well-written resume is not easy, it is of crital importance that the resume writer pays special attention to some of the most typical mistakes made in resume composition, and take the necessary steps to avoid and/or eliminate them. Some of those mistakes are elaborated upon in the following paragraphs.

Including references to personal web sites

You may wonder why referencing a personal web site may be a mistake, since you might have a sample of your graphic design work on a site that you want your potential employer to see; but this is a good idea only if the site you are referencing is limited to work-related content.

Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of including their personal web sites, most of which contain information that a potential employer may find irrelevant, which in his/her view is a waste of company time if not inappropriate altogether.

As a rule, do not include your personal web site if it contains yours, or other photos that may be viewed as inappropriate; including jokes (even if they are clean), or your blog. In other words, if the site you have is entirely for personal purposes, it’s best leaving it off your otherwise well-written resume.

Include a link to your web site if the pages are set up specifically to showcase your professional portfolio, a copy of your resume, reference letters, presentations, photos taken for professional use, or your web development skills.

Using small fonts to compress content

Sometimes you just cannot squeeze all the information required on a resume into a single page, especially if you are presenting twenty or thirty years of education, experience and skills; because it will not format will and can otherwise be very challenging.

As a rule, well-written resume should not exceed two pages; but in recent years it has become commonplace for professionals to change jobs frequently, and if you’re a member of this group, you know that listing all your experiences, as well as your career objective, education, qualifications and references, can certainly take up a lot of space.

However, you should refrain from using a small font in order to fit everything into your resume; because there is not a single area in your resume that should have a font size of less than 10 points. Keep in mind what font type you are using and stick to the basics.

Arial and Times New Roman are the standard font type for resume writing, and are therefore recommended for use in writing your own resume. So instead of changing the font size, review and revise your resume to make sure that statements made are more concise.

Employer and school listing errors

Some critical errors that are sometimes made on a resume without the realization that they’re being made is the preparer’s failure to refer to past employers and/or school(s) they attended by their full and correct names; and this should be avoided in all instances; so do not use variations of company and school names; and don’t use abbreviations unless they are in fact part of the name.

In other words, if you have attended New York University, list the complete name, not just NYU – even though it’s commonly known and your employer will likely recognize it. You definitely do not want to appear sloppy, or unable to pay attention to details.

Lengthy descriptive paragraphs and typos

In order to list those responsibilities you’ve had in your past professional experience, it is best to use bullet points that begin with action verbs; such as managed, developed, etc. You really don’t need to use full sentences, and you certainly don’t need to use a paragraph format.

Using full sentences in a paragraph format make the information in your resume overwhelming and difficult to review quickly; so make your statements brief and clear; and don’t add words simply to fill in space.

What may be the most important factor in achieving a winning and well-written resume is proof reading; and since you want to put your best foot forward it is absolutely unforgivable for your resume to contain grammar and spelling problems which by themselves are enough to give your potential employer the impression that you are not detail-oriented, or even negligent.

About resumes, cover letters and interviews

Of course it is understandable the difficulty in proofing a document you have been working on so closely; so use spell check – but be ware, it will not catch everything – and ask your friends/family for help, or meet with a career counselor. Do your best to present the most polished resume to your potential employers, and begin with eliminating simple mistakes.

Resume Review Help and Proofing Parameters

Resume proofing: A critical task

Anyone who has ever written a resume will agree that writing, formatting and completing such an important document is a time consuming process; and in order to ensure that a resume achieves the goal for which it was prepared, there is one important step which must be taken before it is sent to designated recipients – potential employers. However, a surprisingly high number of professionals make the mistake of not reviewing their final resume document with fresh eyes before sending it out, thereby relegating it to the recycling bin.

That having been said, it might seem redundant to emphasize the importance of proofreading what you may believe to be a well-written resume document before forwarding it to potential employers; but reviewing, editing and perfecting such a document is a routine (or even a habit) that you – if you are a job applicant writing your own resume – should adopt, since failing to do so can have an undesired result on your chances of securing the job in which you are really interested.

With that in mind, you are encouraged to take a look at the following concepts which we hope will help you with the final stages of perfecting your well-written resume and making sure the document is in top shape before it reaches any of the potential employers to whom you intend to send it.

Check for grammar and spelling errors

Proofreading your resume document is one of the most critical steps in your resume review process, because it is often hard to catch composition errors after you’ve spent hours writing and re-writing all parts of it, or any other important document; but it is something which must be done and there are two workable methods you can use to effectively catch resume errors

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One method is to ask someone else to proofread your resume, or give yourself time between writing and reviewing it; and if you ask a friend or a family member for help, make sure that their strengths include spelling and grammar; but they should also be able to edit your resume for content and consistency in style. Asking others to review your resume, however, should be done with parameters. For example, let your friend know what you are struggling with, so that they can help you address those concerns.

Because personal preferences can come into play when you are discussing resumes, make sure the changes you make are the kind with which you are comfortable in terms of content. Another method you can utilize in proofreading, which should be thought of as a must, is to step away from the document for a day or two, and then revisit it for a final review. This gives you some space from the content, and will allow you to review for grammatical and spelling errors with fresh eyes.

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Printing out and emailing your resume

So that you know what your potential employers will receive after you submit your resume, just print out the document and take a look at its appearance, or email it to yourself (if you have more than one email address), or email it to a friend or family member where you will have immediate access to the digital version. However, you must make sure to print your resume from the file in which you are emailing it to your employer; and make sure that the margins are set properly and are not cutting off any content.

Look for spaces and adjust the text in case of any large gaps on the paper. In addition, if you email your resume to some of your friends, have them open the file and let you know how it appears on their screen, as well as how it prints out. Addressing any formatting issues before your resume reaches a potential employer is ideal, so doing a couple of test runs will only assist you in developing an error-free final resume.

The resume-to-job requirements comparison

When you do a comparison of your resume to a particular job’s requirements, it is important to make sure that all requirements are addressed, either in your resume or your cover letter; and a major part of such comparison is to review exactly what the employer is looking for and make sure that your resume addresses all of their needs. Keep in mind that when potential employers receive your resume, they will look for key terms from their job description in order to match your qualifications to their available position.

If possible, use some of the same terminology on your resume as the employer used on the job description, as this will let the employer know that you are in sync with their needs, thereby making them more interested in you as the ideal candidate for the job. Ask one of your friends to review the job description and your resume as well, and give you their impression on how well the two match.

Meticulous review = landing a great job!?

Probably the most important thing you should take away from this article, is the fact that a poorly written and/or formatted resume will – in effect – let most of your potential employers know that you don’t pay any attention to detail; but on the other hand, taking whatever extra time that is necessary to do a final review of your resume document is one of the most important things you can do in getting an employer’s attention, thereby ensuring that you get the job you really want.