Creating an effective resume is one of the most important aspects of job hunting. The right resume will help you get a job interview, but the wrong one might prevent you from getting a foot in the door. Make sure your resume isn’t holding you back by eliminating these common mistakes.
Focusing on Duties rather than Achievements
Your resume shouldn’t simply be a list of your professional responsibilities and duties. Instead, provide concrete examples of the value you can bring to a new employer by giving details of your achievements in previous jobs. Focus on the skills and experience you gained rather than your job description.
The single page resume is no longer the general standard. If you have specific achievements or skills you want to highlight, do so—even if it means your resume will run to a couple of pages. Don’t miss out on emphasizing the things that make you the best person for the job just to conform to out-dated size requirements.
However, it’s also important to avoid creating an overly long resume that contains too much non-specific information. Everything you add to your resume should be tightly focused on your professional qualities. Don’t, for example, list any hobbies or interests unless they are relevant to the job.
Using Vague Language
Avoid non-specific phrases whenever possible. This is particularly important if you include an objective statement to head your resume—it’s very easy to let vague language creep in here. Writing a good objective statement is a difficult skill to master, but it’s worthwhile taking some time to get it right.
Using a Functional Resume when there’s no Need
Function resumes are often favored by people with sketchy job histories, because they focus on skills rather than on work experience. Of course, this is no secret to employers, and many hiring managers regard functional resumes somewhat suspiciously. If you have a good work history, don’t use a functional resume—stick to the chronological format, or go with a combination resume.
Forgetting to Proofread
Proofreading your resume—and having at least one or two friends or family members check it for you—is crucial. One single typo is often enough to make hiring managers bin your resume. Check for grammar and punctuation too, and make sure that every word and phrase in your resume is focused and relevant.