Seven Resume Mistakes to Avoid
Avoid these reds flags to improve your chance at an interview and getting hired. Hillary Chura of CBS MoneyWatch.com reports that it takes less than a minute for a recruiter to plow through six resumes.
1. Don’t apply for a job you aren’t qualified for
There are entry-level jobs that expect to train new hires, but if you’re a photography student, don’t apply for a job as a tax specialist. It wastes everybody’s time–not only yours but also your potential employers. Instead, invest more time in writing a super cover letter for a position for which you’re qualified.
2. Don’t make your mission statement about you
Lofty mission statements about how a job will serve your life goals are not particularly interesting to employers. They want to know how you will serve their needs. Write an “objectives statement that shows you understand the position you’re applying for by highlighting the skills your employer is seeking.”
3. Don’t use one generic resume for every job listing
Say you are a journalism major and an environmental minor, and you have practical experience in both areas. When it comes to applying for jobs, you’re looking in both areas. This is great, just don’t use the same resume. Craft a resume that reflects the industry you want to work in. You may even want to consider how you can tweak your resume for each job opening.
4. Don’t make hiring managers or recruiters guess at your skills
The skills and training you can provide to your potential employers and their clients is your biggest asset. The skills section of your resume should be up front and center, right after the education section.
5. Don’t neglect to explain how past experiences translate to the position
Although candidates shouldn’t apply for positions where they have no experience, they should pursue related leads, particularly in emerging areas. Just be sure to be specific about how past jobs have prepared you, because often job title doesn’t convey job function.
6. Don’t forget the cover letter
Even if the person you’re sending your resume to is someone who knows you, include a cover letter. It’s best to write an entirely new cover letter for each application, it’s also good to use a little bit of the language from the job posting. “I’d like to know why you are contacting me (a particular position, referral, etc.), a short background about yourself, and a career highlight or two,” said Lindsay Olson, a partner at Manhattan’s Paradigm Staffing. Your cover letter is often your one chance to highlight your personality and writing skills, but keep it short and straight to the point.
7. Don’t ignore the details
It’s probably best to get someone else to proofread your cover letter. Typos, spelling errors, poor organization and unnecessary embellishment can all land an otherwise qualified candidate’s resume in the recycling bin.