4 Resume Killers and How to Avoid Them
A guaranteed path to the rejection bin is a resume that falls victim to well-known “killers.” No, we’re not talking about actual killers; rather, these are common resume mistakes that have landed many candidates in the “do not hire” pile. If you want a job, make sure your resume will escape the chopping block. The best way to be certain of that is to hire a professional resume writer.
Your resume is your introduction to a potential employer; it’s the debut of your personal marketing campaign targeted at a given company, so it’s anything but trivial. You can spend hours perfecting your resume, and while that may seem like a long time, it’s nothing considering the multitude of opportunities it unlocks. However, if you don’t watch out for the resume killers, you may never get to seize those opportunities.
Resume conventions change over time, so if you haven’t updated your resume for a few years, pull it out and get to work. It’s a good idea to regularly update because you never know what great opportunities may come your way at any time. Check current resume templates for a guide on how to get the format right.
You’ll also want to make sure your formatting is smooth and consistent. This includes things like checking that all bullets align and that you’re using a consistent font. If you want the hiring manager to read your resume, make it look nice! A sloppy, chaotic mess of a resume is virtually guaranteed to land in the trash bin.
When it comes to specific file types, PDF is a universal format that anyone can open, but it doesn’t always do well with applicant tracking systems (ATSs), which are computer programs that scan job applications and filter out unsuitable candidates. Your safest bet is submitting a resume as a .docx or .doc file, which almost all machines can read.
Nothing screams “unprofessional” like an abundance of grammatical mistakes. Take the time to make sure your resume is error-free; even if you don’t doubt your linguistic skills, hire a professional proofreader to check the document. Mixing up words such as “your” and “you’re” can easily cost you the job.
It’s not just about obvious mistakes that your high school English teacher would have berated you for, either. Did you write the names of the companies in your employment history correctly? Do your sentences sound clunky or unnatural? Are you trying to sound smart by inserting big, fancy words that you don’t really know how to use? Consider all of this before you hit the send button.
If you’re applying for multiple jobs, you may be tempted to submit the same resume or cover letter for them all. However, doing so is a very efficient way to get lots of rejections. If your cover letter is generic and doesn’t even mention the job you’re applying for, the hiring manager probably won’t move to your resume. With a cookie-cutter cover letter, you may fail to follow the specific instructions in that job posting, thus demonstrating the lack of a very basic skill.
Generalization also plays out in how you create your resume. Instead of listing your responsibilities at previous jobs, describe how you accomplished them, with statistics and numbers wherever possible. This shows the hiring manager you succeeded in the tasks you were assigned. Employers want workers who deliver results.
The whole point of your resume is to convey information, but it needs to communicate this information correctly. First, make sure you provide details such as your email address, phone number, physical address, and, of course, your name. You want to make it easy for the hiring manager to contact you.
Next, leave out anything irrelevant to the job you’re applying for. Irrelevant details might make it look as if you simply don’t have the right qualifications. They could also give the impression that you’re full of yourself.
Finally, supply a professional email address. If you’re still using firstname.lastname@example.org, it’s time to update your email address. The most professional choice is a form of your name, with Gmail as your domain. Any information you provide leaves an impression on the hiring manager, and you can choose what type of impression that will be.
These resume killers can take even remarkably qualified candidates out of the race, so carefully evaluate your resume to determine whether you’ve fallen victim to any of them. To maximize your chances of success, reach out to a professional resume writer. Remember: How you present information is sometimes just as important as the information itself.