It’s a competitive job market out there and, when it comes to searching for a job, you cannot afford to make any résumé errors. Here are 10 of the most common résumé errors that our proofreaders and editors see when working on résumés and CVs.
When it comes to résumés and cover letters, one shape DOES NOT fit all. It is crucial that your résumé is tailored to the job that you are applying for and that you describe your knowledge, skills, and experience in a way that relates to the advertised position. It is not the recruiter’s responsibility to try and decipher whether you can fit the job role, you need to spell out the fact that you do meet their requirements.
Your résumé in combination with your cover letter is your one chance to market yourself and stand out from the rest. It is just not acceptable to overuse stock phrases that can be found in every résumé sample on the web. Time and time again our editors read résumés and cover letters that consist of one cliché phrase after another, with no real substance or message. Avoid phrases like “proven track record,” “bottom-line focused,” “experience working in a fast-paced environment,” etc. They are just meaningless, throwaway words that don’t validate your skills and experience. Be specific and qualify your achievements using facts and figures.
Employers want to read your resume and cover letter to quickly and easily see whether or not you are right for the advertised position. Present them with information that will help them to determine your suitability as quickly as you can. They don’t care if you can run a marathon with a monkey on your back or if you have a pet boa constrictor, they want to know what you can do for them, and they want to know this within the first few seconds of reading.
Do not bury key information in long, complicated paragraphs. Get straight to the point and present yourself, your skills and your experience in a concise manner. Bullet point the key areas that make you stand out and use your cover letter and resume to concentrate on the value that you can bring to the role advertised.
Don’t be tempted to use any of the commonly available résumé templates. Employers and recruiters see these every day of the week and you will not stand out. Design your own résumé but remember to keep it simple and use a professional looking format. Both your resume and cover letter should use one standard typeface (no mixing) in 10 to 12 point font size, maximum 14 for headings. Make sure your final résumé will scan and print well.
According to reports from UK tabloid the Mirror a staggering 94% of the CVs received by recruiters go straight into the bin. Why? Because they contain mistakes. Make sure you thoroughly proofread your résumé several times and double-check that it does not contain any errors. Do not be tempted to rely on grammar checking software or spell checkers, since sentences like “manger of 50 strong team” would get the all clear. If you are not confident in your ability to check for mistakes then consider using our professional editing services.
Don’t include too much personal information about yourself that is completely irrelevant to the role advertised. What if the person reviewing the résumé and cover letter detests animal enthusiasts or thinks people who enjoy reading should get a social life? Keep all information relevant and don’t, for the love of God, include a photograph. Not only does it look completely unprofessional, it creates a legal threat to the employer since the photograph ultimately discloses your age, gender, and ethnicity.
Of course they are. Don’t waste space.
If you need to summarize your skills in a paragraph then this means one of two things: you haven’t written your cover letter well enough or you are being redundant. Let your work experience speak for itself and don’t be tempted to write a wordy career objective section, save this for your cover letter.
If you have a significant amount of work experience then it just isn’t possible to fit it all on a single A4 page and, if you attempt to do so, you lose the value of the résumé as a principal marketing tool. Let the length of your career determine the length of your résumé; just make sure you get straight to the point.