Despite increases in technology and connectivity–especially in an office environment–old-fashioned resumes remain an essential component of a job application. A good resume can make or break a candidate, especially if the competition for a position is high. Here are a few common mistakes that you should avoid when it comes to crafting and perfecting your professional resume or CV.
1. Using the Same Resume For Several Job Applications
Oftentimes, people choose to send out the same resume to multiple job openings just because they don’t have the time or because it is just too much work to edit the resume appropriately for each job opening. However, different job openings require different skills and qualifications. This means that despite the time or effort it takes, it is essential that you adjust the resume for each different job.
Instead of writing a resume that specifically fits a particular job, some people choose to create a rather generic resume that might seem appropriate to all kinds of jobs. However, this approach is wrong since employers or recruiters look for applicants who manage to create resumes that clearly show why you are fit for the position.
2. Using a Strange or Unorthodox Resume Formatting or Design
The font or design you choose to apply to your resume may greatly impact the readability. Although most resumes have standard formatting and design, making your resumes visually attractive, but just attractive enough not to seem too hard on the eyes is important. It is recommended not to use fonts or apply design that may be hard to read or identify (both on paper and in PDF). Also, using fonts that are too fancy, excessive underlining or bolding, and italicizing are also unnecessary formatting changes (unless you are applying for positions that require visual creativity), it is better to keep the formatting and style as simple as possible. Fonts that are most commonly used by applicants and favored by employers are clean-looking fonts such as Calibri, Helvetica, Arial or Times New Roman.
3. Including Overly Personal Information
Your resume is a statement showing why you are appropriate for a particular job. In other words, what is stated on your resume has to be relevant to the job, and the job only. It is not a place to elaborate on your life history. In the past, some jobs required you to state personal information such as your marital status, nationality, and religion. However, these days, it is illegal for employers to demand such information from you. Instead of wasting the space on your resume stating this personal information, use the space to appeal to your skills or qualifications.
4. Repeating the Same Information
Employers only have a limited time to spend on your resume since they have countless resumes to review other than yours. This is why it’s important to keep your resume short and concise. The best way to do this is to avoid repeating the same information. While writing out the resume, you might unintentionally repeat the same information in the executive summary or skills section. Keep all points short and avoid using the same words over and over again.
5. Giving Unclear or Ambiguous Information
Using words like ‘approximately’, ‘about’, ‘few’, or ‘several’ may make you sound ambiguous. Especially, when describing your achievements or projects you participated in, it is important to give clear and accurate information. For instance, instead of writing ‘Participated in the design project for several months’, write ‘Participated in the design project for 4 months’. Also, when writing about how you met the project target, make sure to clearly describe how you were able to meet the target and by how much. Don’t forget to include exact numbers and quantified statistics.
6. Overusing Industry Jargon or Buzzwords
Many people choose to include industry-specific jargon or buzzwords in hopes of sounding knowledgeable and proficient in the industry. However, on the contrary, overusing business jargon can weaken your resume. Using such vocabulary may detract from the core information you are trying to show the employer. It is better to use plain and clear language that can increase deliverability.
The following are some examples of jargon and buzzwords you should avoid in your resume:
- Bottom line
- Core competency
- Move the needle
- Thought leadership
- Value add
- Strategic thinker
- Best of breed
- Think outside the box
7. Making Spelling, Punctuation, or Grammar Errors
This is perhaps the most basic and important mistake all job applicants should avoid making. Even a single or minute error in grammar or spelling may make you appear unprofessional and lazy. Even though made unintentionally, it may deliver the message that you don’t take the application process and the job seriously. This mistake can be avoided by simply going over the resume several times, and at least two times after you are done writing it. Also, there are many proofreading and editing services you can use to make sure your resume is error-free. Wordvice also provides an editing service specifically for resumes. Additionally, Wordvice AI is a new free text editor that finds and fixes errors in writing instantly, allowing you to edit your resume in real-time before submitting it to your friend or admissions editor.
General DOs and DON’Ts for Writing Resumes
- Customize your resume so that it matches the job you are applying to.
- Increase the overall readability of your resume by using the appropriate format and style.
- Use strong action words to describe your achievements.
- Add skills and qualifications that are relevant to the job.
- Qualify and quantify your experiences whenever possible. Include numbers and percentages when possible.
- Proofread your resume several times and have different persons review the resume.
- Get resume and CV editing by professional admissions editors.
- Make general or ambiguous claims without concrete evidence to back them up.
- Include long, generic objective statements.
- Overuse industry-specific jargons.
- Unnecessarily elongate the resume. Keep it concise and to the point.