6 Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid During Your Job Search

For recent grads or those who are newly entering the workforce, welcome! You’ve hit a significant milestone in your life. Unlike myself, you get to enter the job market during a time when unemployment is at a remarkably-low 3.9%. While the planets are certainly aligned in your favor, it’s still an extremely competitive landscape for job seekers today.

As you begin your job hunt, it’s important to set yourself up for success right from the get-go. That means giving unnecessary mistakes the pink slip and supplying employers with the best first impression possible via your resume. So, what does it take to separate yourself from the pack? Avoid making mistakes on your resume. 

Here are 6 common resume blunders entry-level job seekers are notorious for making.

Messy or Disorganized Information

Many novice job seekers find themselves wracking their brains for ideas when it comes to listing their work experience. If you’re just beginning your journey into employment, then you’re probably looking at a gaping black hole of nothingness when it comes to a concrete work history. Most recent grads have a lot of unrelated, yet notable, experiences to share with a potential employer, but are unsure of how to accurately present this information on their resume.

While a seasoned worker can simply showcase their career history in chronological order, this is not always the most effective resume format for recent grads. Instead, a functional resume, which highlights the skills and accomplishments you’ve gained over your college years, may be a better way to display your talents. Tailor your resume for the position you’re applying for, listing key skill sets that relate to the needs of the role at the top of the page.

Limiting Yourself Based on Outdated Rules

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a one-page ruler reigned over all job seekers. To be clear, you should keep your resume concise and eliminate any non-essential information. After all, recruiters and hiring managers only spend a few seconds glancing over your resume. However, if you find yourself shrinking the font down to size eight, narrowing the margins, and using minimal spacing in an effort to cram all of your information on one page, then it’s okay to spill over to a second page. If your resume is difficult to read, a recruiter will be quick to toss it into the rejection bin.

Lack of Clarity

As a new grad, it’s common to feel unclear about which direction you want to take your career. When it comes to putting your resume together, however, you need to present a clear and focused message. If you’re applying to a few different types of roles to explore your options, then you must create a customized resume that speaks specifically to each position. Why? Because today’s applicant tracking systems often weed out candidates who don’t have the skills necessary to satisfy the job requirements. Incorporate the keywords highlighted in the job description on your resume to ensure you aren’t eliminated right off the bat.

Grammar & Spelling Errors

Proofreading your resume is a must. One minor spelling error could mean the difference between an opportunity to interview and a one-way ticket to the trash bin. It’s easy to miss a small grammar-related error, so in addition to meticulously reviewing your resume before sending it out, also enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to give your CV a good look over.

Failing to Highlight Achievements

As an entry-level job seeker or career-changer, you may find it challenging to showcase accomplishments that are relevant or noteworthy. The goal is to demonstrate your impact by highlighting your past achievements, rather than simply listing what your prior responsibilities were. Employers are looking to get a feel for what kind of value you could potentially bring to their company.

To shed light on your accomplishments, note ways in which your work has contributed to making processes more efficient or helped to overcome a challenge. Whether you improved ticket sales, increased traffic to a company website via social media marketing, or helped improve workflow by implementing a new process, show prospective employers how your work has achieved results. For new grads who have yet to hold a job or internship, simply list any awards, coursework, publications, or projects you’ve done that are relevant to the position you’re applying for and the outcome of those efforts.

Visually Chaotic

Aesthetically, your resume should be visually appealing and easy to read. If it’s littered with too many colors, fonts, and visuals, it’ll only give recruiters and hiring managers a throbbing headache. Have a couple of people look over your resume before sending it out to ensure it isn’t too busy or chaotic.

When crafting a winning resume, it’s easy to make mistakes – even the most seasoned professionals run into an occasional mess up. With only a few seconds to knock a recruiter’s socks off, you cannot afford the risk of having spelling or grammatical errors on your resume. Your resume is an opportunity to make a great first impression on a potential employer and showcase your worth.

Michele Loizzi Written by:

Michele Loizzi is the Director of Recruitment Marketing Services at Human Edge.

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