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How to avoid making mistakes on your resume
Submitted by HenryHatford
Posted Feb 01 2012 02:30 PM
When you are trying to land a job, you don't want to kill your chances before you get your foot in the door. But that's exactly what will happen if you make one of the top resume mistakes.
One of the best ways to get your resume thrown in the trash is to misspell a word or make an obvious mistake in grammar. A 2009 study by staffing company Accountemps found that one in four hiring managers will throw away a resume after finding just one typo. Don't just spell check your resume; proofread it as well, including reading it out loud to make sure everything sounds OK. It might not hurt to have someone else proof it as well.
2. One Size Fits All
You need to make sure you tailor your resume for each job for which you are applying. Don't just send out a general resume; take the time to rearrange it to highlight skills and experience that are pertinent to that job. You might want to look at resume examples to get good ideas of how to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for.
While you want your resume to make you sound as appealing as possible, creating jobs or degrees you didn't have is a big no no. Will every company check out all of your information? Probably not. But you will have no chance at the job if the person doing the hiring finds out you fudged something. Short of lying, you don't want to oversell yourself, either. For example, if you had a position where you were occasionally in charge, like when your boss was out sick, don't say you "regularly" supervised employees.
4. Underselling Yourself
Although don't want to lie or embellish too much on your resume, you also don't want to go to the other extreme and fail to play up your legitimate skills and experience. If you graduated top of your class or close to it, be sure to list that. If you were named the top salesman at your company, trumpet that fact as prominently as you can. Also, make sure to make the run-of-the mill stuff sound as good as possible. For example, don't just say "I supervised a team of six employees," say "under my supervision, my team increased sales 15 percent in one year" -- assuming that's true. of course.
5. Bad Layout
Photoshop, InDesign and any other piece of software that allows you to spruce up your resume and make it more visually appealing that a plain old Microsoft Word document are good things. But here is another area where you don't want to overdo it. Stick with two fonts, max -- one for the headers and one for the body text -- and keep the graphics to the minimum. While you don't want your resume to look boring and outdated, you also don't want it to be too busy. Show it to a friend before sending it off or look at resume examples that are considered good.
6. Too Long
That old axiom that your resume shouldn't be more than one page doesn't apply any more, but that doesn't mean you can turn in a resume that's research paper length, either. Two pages is a good length, three is probably the max you should produce if you have an extensive work history. As long as you've got professional experience to list, you can job unrelated jobs. For example, if you are looking for computer programmer jobs, you don't need to list your work history at McDonald's. You also don't need to include references on your resume. You can provide them on a separate page when they are requested.
7. Make Sure That Contact Info is Correct
Sent out 20 resumes and haven't gotten a single call? Could be that you're underqualified or that it's really tough out there. Or, it could be that you listed your phone number wrong. This is a cardinal sin, along the same lines of having a typo on your resume. You should list landline (if you have it) and wireless phone numbers, along with an email address. And triple-check to make sure all are correct.