A candidate’s resume is one of the most important assets in any search for a new role. It’s often the first opportunity to impress a recruiter or potential employer and could very well be the first step you take towards an exciting new role.
That’s why it’s so important to spend a little more time making sure that yours is on point. Even so, it’s surprising just how many candidates fail to get it right and inadvertently eliminate themselves from the running with a few small mistakes.
With this in mind, here is a list of the most common mistakes that we’ve come across during our time recruiting for our clients.
There’s too much info on one page
There’s a school of thought that a one-page resume is the only way to go. And we can see why many might feel that way. After all, short and to the point is always welcome to a busy recruiter who may have scores of resumes to wade through.
However, depending on the role and your experience, one page might not be enough for your must-have information. The truth is that recruiters don’t care too much that your resume spans two or three pages. As a matter of fact, 77% of employers say that candidates shouldn’t use one page resumes.
What they do care about is the fact that it has all the relevant information and that it is well-presented. So before you go shrinking that font and adding columns of text here, there and everywhere, have a little think about what the final result is going to look like.
That brings us to our next mistake.
It’s a hot mess
And by that we mean it’s all over the place. Name and personal details halfway down the page, work experience at the beginning and qualifications buried somewhere at the back—like we said, it’s a hot mess.
A messy and badly laid out resume reflects poorly on the candidate. In fact, it could have the recruiter wondering how they would handle a new role when they can’t even format a resume correctly. It also suggests that a candidate isn’t all that bothered about the job if they can’t spend the time to organise their resume correctly.
Remember, if you’re not great with presenting data on a page, templates are your friend.
There are more than a few typos
Everyone makes mistakes. This is a simple fact of life and no recruiter will be too harsh on a candidate who has misspelt a word on their resume. But while one may be tolerated, any more than that will cast serious doubts over their ability to proofread a document.
Of course, it goes without saying that the candidate is not an editor, but reading over a resume a few times to spot any errors is basic resume writing 101. The same goes for a cover letter where you should pay particular attention to the spelling and capitalisation of the company’s name.
Vital information is missing
Missing information on a candidate’s resume is the bane of a recruiter’s life. This is especially true when that information is pertinent to the role that they are applying for or is vital for a candidate’s application to progress.
It’s bad enough leaving out some or all of your work experience or even qualifications, but the cardinal sin here is to forget your contact information. While this may not seem like a big issue if you’ve emailed your resume in, a recruiter doesn’t want to trawl through the careers email inbox looking for your email address.
You’d be surprised at just how often this actually happens.
It’s a little too unique
Unique is good as it helps you stand out from the crowd. But there are subtle ways to be unique and then there are the overbearing ways that will make a recruiter cringe.
Resumes printed on brightly coloured pages are often the biggest culprits while cover pages with ‘unique’ designs or patterns are another one. There are even some candidates that feel that a holiday snap might be the right kind of standout feature that will make them… well, make them stand out.
Just remember that a resume is a professional document and should look like one. If you want to be unique, then think of something meaningful to say about yourself in your cover letter or in your objective statement. Speaking of which…
The objective statement doesn’t make sense
An objective statement gives a recruiter a very quick insight into a candidate’s goals. Typically it will read something like ‘To secure a challenging position that will allow me to utilise my skills and advance my career.’ It doesn’t need to be overly complex, but it should accurately reflect what your objective is.
However, no two companies are the same and so you may need to adjust your objective accordingly. Imagine a recruiter at a small local startup receiving a resume with an objective that read ‘Looking for a role with a large multinational company’ or something similar. Not a good look at all.
A candidate’s objective statement should clearly imply that they want to work for the company they are applying to. Makes sense, right?
It’s full of irrelevant jargon
Using industry-specific terminology in your resume makes sense when describing work experience or qualifications. However, there’s a fine balance between too much jargon and not enough.
Candidates often err on the side of caution and cram all the industry jargon they can think of into a resume or use one particular word far too often. Unfortunately, this often makes a resume impossible to scan and is kind of like reading a blog post stuffed with keywords like , Java this, Java that, Java something else, something something Java. You get the point. Use what is necessary only and you should be fine.
It has an odd personal email address
It stands to reason that a candidate won’t want to stick their work email address as a contact on their resume. So this means that they’ll use their personal email address. Unfortunately, those odd email addresses that a candidate created way back in school don’t quite have that professional look about them.
Imagine a recruiter considering contacting you to arrange an interview when they see your email address is foofoobunny1985@..... It’s not quite the look you’re going for is it?
Go ahead and set up a free email account that looks professional or at the very least doesn’t contain an animal or sports team.
When it comes to resume mistakes, the team here at Software Placements has seen it all and then some. But the mistakes above are the ones that we keep seeing again and again. So do yourself a favour and try to avoid making any of them in your next job application. Otherwise you may knock yourself out of the running before the race has even started.
If you’re looking for a new role and would like to send us your resume, feel free to get in touch with us today. Just remember to use that free template and don’t forget your contact details!