Your resume is your first impression with a hiring manager.
Not only do you want the hiring manager to clearly understand how your skills will bring success to their company, you are also competing against dozens or even hundreds of other resumes just to get seen.
Kristin Hughes and Shelley Casino—two recruiting experts with Odyssey Information Services—participated in a LinkedIn Live webcast where they discussed best practices to help your resume stand out and rise to the top of the pile.
Check out highlights from their chat or click the image below to watch the full video:
Common resume mistakes to avoid
1. Spelling errors
Make sure to comb through your resume before submitting it. With so many resumes to choose from, some hiring managers will toss aside the ones with errors and move on to the next.
2. Wrong tense
Hiring managers like to see consistency. Use present tense when describing your current responsibilities. Use past tense when describing your past jobs.
3. Using the same words over and over
“Responsible” is a common word that’s used over and over in resumes. It’s a bad habit that a lot of people fall into. try to be creative with your descriptions.
4. Lack of attention to detail
Remember, your resume is your first impression. Read through it two or three times to make sure it makes sense and represents you well. Spelling and grammar checks on your computer are helpful, but don’t rely on them. Take the extra time to go through your resume line by line to catch any errors. It will pay off for you in the long run, especially if you’re being compared to a resume that’s littered with mistakes!
5. Education and certifications are buried
Education and certifications are very important. Make sure they’re towards the top of your resume. You don’t have to include graduation dates.
6. Same descriptions under each job
If you had similar experiences at different jobs, make sure they sound different. Don’t copy and paste. Duplicating bullet points may make the hiring manager question whether you really did the work.
7. Specific tools and expertise aren’t identified
Bring attention to the fact that used a tool that is specifically mentioned in the employer’s job description. Explain how you used this tool and any results you earned from it.
8. Mentioning tools you’re not actually familiar with using
Unlike the previous point, do not bring attention to a tool that is specifically mentioned in the job description if you do not actually have experience using it. It may look good on your resume, but you will most likely get exposed during your interview.
9. Resume is not customized to the job posting
If you want to stand out, don’t submit a generic resume. Make sure you tailor it the job description as much as you can. But be honest. If you can’t elaborate about anything that’s in in your resume, don’t include it. You don’t want anything to come back to bite you.
Keep your summary short and to the point
You don’t need to write a long, run-on sentence with multiple adjectives to describe yourself.
Keep it short and authenticate: This is who I am. This is what I do. These are the certifications I have. These are the tools I use.
Simple and to the point.
Also, be cautious about including an objective. You don’t want to screen yourself out of an interview if your objective doesn’t line up with the company’s objective for this position.
Don’t create gaps in your work history
Be honest about your work history. Even if you had back-to-back stints as a short-term contractor, include them on your resume. Tenure is important, but a gap—or multiple gaps—on your resume may raise more red flags.
If you’re concerned about that time you worked a three-month contract, be sure to explain in your description that the contract was for a short-term project and how you helped the company in that short amount of time.
Honesty is always the best policy.
Don’t write a long resume
The old days used to call for long resumes with lots of details. The more details, the better.
But times have changed.
Now, the person reading your resume is most likely skimming through it. That’s why it’s so important to have the most eye-catching information on the first couple pages.
Two pages is ideal, but don’t feel pressured to cut out important details in order to keep it to those two pages.
If you go over two pages, that’s ok as long as the information is relevant and not repetitive.
Tailor your resume to every position
Tailoring your resume is one of the best ways to get your resume to stand out and rise to the top of the pile.
It does NOT mean you have to write a brand-new resume every time.
Read through your resume thoroughly and compare it to the job posting. If your resume matches pretty well, then you don’t have to change a lot to customize it.
If the job posting specifically mentions something you’ve accomplished, make sure it’s on your resume. And make sure it’s highlighted to grab the hiring manager’s attention!
Match your LinkedIn profile to your resume
After reading your resume, one of the first things recruiters and hiring managers will do is check out your LinkedIn profile.
You want to make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile match (work dates, positions held, responsibilities, accomplishments, tools, expertise, certifications, etc.)
They also may want to get to know you a little better to see if you would be a cultural fit.
Add a profile photo and talk about your hobbies and interests outside of work.