As the New Year begins and you start to think about what your New Year’s resolution should be, consider giving your resume a makeover as one of them. Whether you are a first time job seeker or have some experience under your belt, it’s always a good idea to keep your resume up to date and error free.
Our expert recruiters put their heads together to give you some feedback on common mistakes they find everyday on resumes.
1. Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar errors on resumes were without a doubt the number one complaint by our recruiters. And while this may seem obvious, we’ve realized that these are probably the easiest mistakes a candidate can make. Most candidates are quite invested in the content of their resumes and tend to over think the way things are worded without double-checking the basics, often leading to spelling errors and incorrect usage of verbs. Although minor, senior recruiter, Amanda Wendlinger says these mistakes have major implications for employers.
“You MUST read through your resume thoroughly and make sure that words are used properly and spelled correctly. This includes everything from verb agreement to comma usage.”
“These "minor" mistakes tell an emploer that you did not take the time to proofread what should be the most important part of your preliminary job search. If you're not taking your resume seriously, it would indicate you might not be taking your job very seriously either and suggests that you lack attention to detail, an essential quality employers look for as they source talent,” Wendlinger says.
Lesson learned: Proofread... and more than once!
It’s important to keep resumes succinct. If your resume is too long, a lot of your accomplishments and skills could go unnoticed. Recruiters receive hundreds and sometimes thousands of applications each day and a resume that looks more like a book might make a reader lose interest pretty quickly. The length of your resume is usually determined by your years of experience. For an entry-level job seeker or one with a few years of experience, a one-page resume should be more than sufficient. For a candidate with 5+ years, a two page resume is a more appropriate length.
Lesson learned: Save the extra details for the interview!
There are many different ways to format your resume. The key is to make the format as clean and legible as possible so that a recruiter or employer can scan through it and know your qualifications, capabilities and job goals.
Resumes with consistent spacing between lines, even margins and properly aligned columns are more likely to get put in the keep pile because of their readability. Be sure to look at your resume displayed on a few different platforms before submitting it. You don’t want all of your hard work creating consistent line spacing to be futile when the employer opens it up in Google Docs and it looks nothing like your original in MS Word. Saving your resume as a PDF file is most likely the safest bet to assure consistent formatting.
Lesson learned: Resume aesthetics are crucial, spend as much time formatting as you do proofreading!
4. Be Specific
Director of Employment, Susan Negin, encourages applicants to list accomplishments within their specific job role in addition to the day-to-day duties.
“While employers want to know what you’ve done in your past jobs, they are ultimately concerned about what you can do for them,” says Negin.
So instead of just listing off your daily routine, use statistics and numbers to back up how you directly impacted the company and solved problems that arose. An example of this would be, improved sales revenue by over (give specific number or percentage) over the last (give time frame). Recruiters and employers want to be convinced of your sales revenue improvement with concrete data.
Lesson learned: It’s okay to boast, if you don’t sell yourself, no one else will!
Make your resolution to clean up these four key areas of your resume before applying to jobs in 2015! And once it's all cleaned up, be sure to browse our job openings.