When you’re looking for a job, there are two things you need to do right in order to land it. You need to write a good resume that clearly demonstrates that you’re the right person for the job. Then, you need to pass the interview and be better than any other applicants.
In most cases, you won’t get to the interview stage if your resume isn’t good enough. The quality of your resume is not just about the information it contains, like your skills and your work history. They count for a lot, but even if you have all the skills and experience that would make you the ideal candidate for a job, you can still do things with your resume that will completely ruin your chances of landing a job. Even if you use resume samples to get a good sense of how a resume looks like, those mistakes might ruin it. So your best bet would be to get to know them so you can avoid them.
Don’t Check the Spelling
If there’s one thing that’s worse for your resume than overconfidence in your spelling skills, it has to be blind reliance on proofreading software. Checking the spelling in your resume is too important to be left to the type of software that has a mixed rep about it effectiveness. It’s also too important to be completely skipped.
Spelling mistakes are among the most common resume mistakes. They are also the mistakes that recruiters and HR professionals like to see the least, which makes them the mistakes that are most likely to completely ruin a perfectly good resume. So check your spelling. More than once. Using different strategies.
Pick the Wrong Resume Format
There are three types of resume formats you can use. There’s the chronological format, where things are listed in the chronological order. There’s the functional format, where skills are given the place under the spotlight. And there’s the combination format, which uses a bit of both.
Each resume format is suited for different types of candidates. If you’re someone who has relevant and recent employment, you pick the chronological format. If you want to change careers and focus on your skills, you use the functional format. You use the combination format if you have a mix of skills and experience. If you do it any other way, you won’t be showcasing your stronger points.
Make Bad Design Choices
An argument can be made that we live in the era of the creative resume. And it’s true that we’re seeing people build great interactive resumes, or using awesome design to make their resumes stand out among the rest. There are a couple of problems with that, however.
One, if you’re not a professional designer, and you’re not willing to use a professional designer to create your resume, you shouldn’t try it. There’s also the fact that certain design choices, such as using pictures and exotic fonts, can render your resume illegible to applicant tracking systems. And finally, for some professions and some employers, any design choice that’s not the standard is a bad choice.
Use the Same Resume for Every Job Application
Every job application is different. Even if you’re applying for the same position with two different employers, the employers can have a completely different workplace culture, set of values, and expectations from you, a prospective employee.
This is why you generally shouldn’t use an identical resume for more applications than one. Your best bet is to make adjustments, even if they are small ones, to make sure that you demonstrate you read the job post and that you have what the employer wants.
Firmly Believe That a Real Person Will View It
We’ve mentioned applicant tracking software already, and if you’re not sure what it is, here’s a quick explanation. It’s basically a robot that reads your resume, and it’s often the first thing that “sees” your resume. And you shouldn’t be surprised by this — the ATS market is already huge, and it’s expected to continue growing as more and more recruiters start to rely on it.
A human might eventually read your resume, but it first needs to pass the gatekeeper algorithm that is an ATS. If you didn’t write your resume to be legible by machines, chances are it will end up on a pile, never to be seen again.
Even though recruitment is undergoing changes, the resume remains one of the most important tools for both job seekers and employees. And while in some respects resumes haven’t changed a bit — their success is still predicated on your attention to detail in spelling — you should also be aware of the newer developments which can influence the quality of your resume and the success of your job hunt.