In today’s world, first impressions are everything. After all, first impressions, specifically negative ones, are always hard to forget. This concept holds true in your job search as well. When applying to jobs, your resume acts as the first point of contact between you and your recruiter, which is why it holds a significant amount of weight.
According to a study conducted by The Ladders, recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at any given resume to decide whether or not a candidate is fit for a job. This means you have very little time to convince a hiring manager that you’re worth bringing in for an interview. With such a small window of opportunity, you can’t afford to make any of the following careless resume mistakes:
You want the person reviewing your resume to get a clear idea of who you are and what you professionally bring to the table – something a lengthy resume makes difficult to do. In addition, as many hiring managers typically go through hundreds of resumes before selecting candidates, too long of a resume may automatically land your application in the no pile. As a result, it’s considered a best practice to keep your resume as concise as possible. For a general guideline, professionals with 10 years of experience or less should keep their resume to one page, while professionals with 10+ years of experience can stretch it to two. Just remember, keep it short and to the point.
Heavy blocks of text can make your resume look disorganized and difficult to read. Instead, use bullet points to highlight important skills and experiences, and make sure you create enough space in between sections so it’s easy for recruiters to scan. Doing this will make it much easier for hiring managers to digest the information in your resume, and you therefore may find yourself landing more interviews. After all, your resume is not a novel, so it doesn’t need to be written like one.
Including pictures, graphs, and elaborate fonts
Unless you work in a creative/digital capacity, stay away from embellishing your resume with pictures, graphs, and elaborate fonts. Although it may seem tempting to include them with the hopes of standing out from your competition, stay away as it looks unprofessional and may cause technical issues when someone tries to open the file. Keep your resume clean and simple, and save any fancy graphics for your social media profiles.
Not including relevant keywords
In order to narrow down the candidate pool and maximize their chances of finding candidates who are a match, hiring managers now use screening tools that let them search certain keywords specific to the job in question. Therefore, in order to be found in these search results, it’s important to tailor your resume to each job you’re applying to by using certain keywords found in the job’s description and required skills section. On a related note, be careful about using too many keywords – it can make your resume read awkwardly.
Using the same uniform resume
In the same vein, one size does not fit all when it comes to applying to jobs. Though more than one job may share some common skill requirements, it’s rare that two job descriptions are identical. Therefore, rather than sending the same uniform resume for every job you apply to, create a master resume that you can use as a template to reference when customizing your resume. Spending 15-30 minutes tailoring your resume to each job you apply to can mean the difference between receiving a call from a hiring manager, or not.
Typos and grammatical errors
Typos and grammatical errors are some of the most common resume mistakes. Unfortunately, they can cost you the job! Why? Typos and grammatical errors indicate a lack of attention to detail which can raise a major red flag to hiring managers. Spell check is a helpful tool, but getting a second pair of eyes to review your resume for errors is even better. Don’t let something as simple as a typo rule you out as a viable candidate.