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It doesn’t matter how well you interview or how qualified you are if your resume isn’t top-notch. Without a great, attention-grabbing resume, you’ll never make it past the initial application process and get a chance to prove that you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Your resume is your chance to make the best first impression and make it to the next stage of the job screening process. Listed below are 5 major mistakes to avoid on your resume:

Writing a Novel

Hiring managers typically get an overwhelming number of applications for each job opening, but they only spend an average of 6 seconds scanning each resume. If your resume stands out enough during the initial  scan to make it to the “maybe” pile, they might spend more time quickly skimming the remainder of your resume. The key thing to remember is that hiring managers are busy, and you can make yourself more appealing by keeping your resume focused, concise, and easy to scan.

If your resume is comprised of long, dense blocks of text, it doesn’t matter how great the material is because chances are no one will read it.

Using Dated Resume Techniques

Hiring managers are looking for candidates who are professional and savvy enough to fit into the modern job market. One way to signal to hiring managers that you’re living in the past is to use old-fashioned, ineffective and dated techniques. These include:

  • Mentioning that your references are “available upon request.” This is usually considered a meaningless filler since hiring managers assume this is true of most applicants.
  • Busy and cluttered resumes. Clean, concise, and attractive is the name of the game- using a combination of loud fonts and colors is distracting and looks dated.
  • A generic and cliched objective like “Professional seeks challenging position.” This doesn’t add value, and it wastes valuable resume real estate.

Being Too Vague

When quickly skimming a resume, it makes sense that hiring managers will be drawn to percentages, specific details, and other metrics, while mostly skipping past vague generalities. Instead of saying you “increased efficiency,” saying something like “increased productivity by an estimated 20%, boosting revenue by $500K annually” is much more impressive and effective.

Exaggerating Your Qualifications

56% of hiring managers have discovered lies and embellishments on resumes, and anecdotally many hiring managers say they would rather hire an honest candidate with potential and limited experience than someone who exaggerates. When applying for a job you’re excited about, it makes more sense to emphasize your qualifications and transferrable skills (something an experienced resume writer is great at) than to overstate your experience and risk getting caught.

Even if your embellishments are missed, you run the risk of starting a job you’re not qualified for, and being placed in the anxiety-inducing situation of pretending to have skills you don’t possess. It’s best to be truthful, as exaggerating or lying is never worth it.

Submitting a Sloppy Resume 

No matter the position or industry, chances are hiring managers are looking for candidates who pay great attention to detail and quality. The best way make a great first impression is to submit a resume that’s free of grammatical errors and typos, clean and visually appealing in layout and format, and reads well.

If you want to avoid these five major mistakes, consider hiring a professional resume writer who’s skilled and familiar with your industry. Contact me today to discuss your job search and career goals, and to learn more about Elite’s interview-winning resume and cover letter packages.

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