The Top 10 Worst Resume Mistakes You’re Making (Resume Series Part II)

 

In the previous episode, we discussed why obsessing over your resume is not the most critical part of the job search process. However, it is still an important aspect that can help you secure interviews. In this episode, we will delve into the top 10 worst resume mistakes that can disqualify you or hinder your job search. It’s crucial to ensure that your resume tells the story you want to convey and showcases why you are an excellent candidate for your desired role. Let’s dive into the top 10 mistakes and learn how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Spending Too Much Time on Your Resume

“Spending more than a week working on your resume… You don’t need more than three to five hours working on your resume.”

It’s easy to get caught up in perfecting your resume, but spending excessive time on it can be counterproductive. Instead, focus on activities that generate interview invitations, such as networking and talking to people in your industry. Remember, perfection is subjective, and spending too much time on your resume can cost you valuable interview opportunities.

Mistake #2: Outsourcing Your Resume

“The resume is supposed to talk about your greatest achievements, the impact you’ve made… Another person just doesn’t know that story like you do.”

Outsourcing your resume to a professional writer may seem like a convenient option, but it can be detrimental. Your resume should highlight your unique accomplishments and the challenges you’ve overcome. Another person cannot accurately capture your experiences and the meaningful details that make your achievements stand out. Additionally, crafting your resume yourself helps you prepare for interviews by reflecting on your work stories.

Mistake #3: Using Funky Canva Graphic Templates

“Canva graphic templates are often automatically rejected… They leave so little space for actual real content that tells your work stories.”

While Canva graphic templates may appear visually appealing, they can hinder your chances of getting past an application tracking system (ATS). ATS systems often interpret these templates as non-traditional resumes and automatically reject them. Moreover, these templates often prioritize aesthetics over meaningful content, leaving little room to showcase your work stories and accomplishments. It’s essential to strike a balance between design and substance.

Mistake #4: Including Too Much Irrelevant Content

“We need to be very strategic about the content that is going on the page… We want to see the most relevant work experience.”

Your resume should focus on relevant experiences and skills that directly align with your target role. Including every job you’ve ever had or irrelevant details can overwhelm recruiters who spend an average of eight seconds scanning resumes. Highlighting the most relevant work experience increases your chances of catching their attention and securing an interview.

Mistake #5: Writing Job Description-Like Bullet Points

“We want to know the outcome, the impact, the results that you’ve been able to create… The resumes that stand out show the impact that a person has made.”

Avoid writing bullet points that merely describe your job responsibilities. Instead, focus on showcasing the impact and results you achieved in each role. Highlight specific accomplishments, such as cost-cutting measures, efficiency improvements, relationship-building successes, or sales achievements. Demonstrating the outcomes of your work makes your resume more compelling and memorable.

Mistake #6: Using Distracting Formatting and Jargon

“You don’t want to create moments when the recruiter is scanning your resume that confuse them… Your bullet points should be easily readable.”

Formatting choices and excessive jargon can distract recruiters and make your resume difficult to read. Aim for a clean and professional format that allows recruiters to seamlessly scan your resume. Avoid using excessive acronyms or industry-specific jargon that may not be universally understood. Your goal is to make your resume accessible to anyone, regardless of their background.

Mistake #7: Overloading Your Resume with Useless Buzzwords

“Being a hard worker, team player, collaborative… These soft skills don’t mean anything without concrete examples.”

Buzzwords like “hard worker” or “team player” are overused and lack substance. Instead of relying on generic buzzwords, focus on providing concrete examples of your skills and accomplishments. Showcasing your impact and results is a more effective way to demonstrate your abilities and differentiate yourself from other candidates.

Mistake #8: Lying or Exaggerating

“You should not be misrepresenting what you do or make it seem like you’ve done what they want… Choose the path of integrity.”

Misrepresenting your skills or experiences, exaggerating your accomplishments, or adding keywords you don’t possess can be tempting. However, it’s crucial to maintain integrity throughout the job search process. Lying or exaggerating may help you secure an interview, but it will likely backfire during the interview stage when you’re unable to substantiate your claims. Honesty is always the best policy.

Mistake #9: Including Objective Statements

“Just save the space and move on to the bullet points showing your impact.”

Objective statements were once popular in resumes, but they have become less relevant in recent years. Instead of wasting valuable space on an objective statement, focus on crafting impactful bullet points that highlight your achievements and skills. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves and capture the attention of recruiters.

Mistake #10: Not Clarifying Work Gaps

“Recruiters often want to understand work gaps… It can be helpful to clarify them and showcase your unique experiences.”

Work gaps longer than six months can raise questions for recruiters. While there’s no need to be ashamed of work gaps, it’s essential to address them and provide context. Whether it was a career sabbatical, personal circumstances, or a job loss, explaining the reasons behind the gap can help recruiters understand your unique experiences and perspective.

 

Crafting an effective resume requires striking a balance between showcasing your achievements and providing relevant information. By avoiding these top 10 resume mistakes, you can increase your chances of securing interviews and moving forward in the job search process. Remember, your resume is just one piece of the puzzle, and honing your interview skills is equally important. Stay true to yourself, focus on your accomplishments, and present your unique story to stand out in a competitive job market.

In the next episode, we will discuss how to take your resume from good to great, providing practical tips and a downloadable resume template to help you update your resume efficiently. Stay tuned for more valuable insights and guidance on your job search journey.

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