7 Biggest Resume Formatting Mistakes

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A resume is your first, and usually only, opportunity to get your foot in the door for a job interview. Human Resources Managers have very little time to spend combing through each and every resume they receive for positions. According to resume writing experts at SolidEssay.com, it is for this reason that your resume needs to be attention-grabbing, but you want it to be a good attention-grabbing. If your resume includes these very common errors, you probably won’t be contacted. Here is a list of the most common resume mistakes, and the biggest ones to avoid.

1. Lack of or Poorly Defined Objective Statement 

When writing your objective statement, don’t be vague. Be specific about what you are looking for. This will help the Human Resources Manager determine if the type of position that you seek matches any of the types of positions that they are required to fill.

2. Failure to Tailor Your Resume

You may be tempted to attach the exact same resume to ten different job application emails, speedily applying to jobs into the wee hours of the night. Break this habit if you want to increase your chances of getting hired. It is vitally important that you tailor your resume to the position description, and use the appropriate keywords. This doesn’t mean copying and pasting the job description keywords into your resume and hastily adding them. Instead, think of relevant accomplishments and skills that describe these hard skills. For example, proving you’re “detail-oriented” translates into “Organized a contact database of 3,000 clients to leverage direct sales.”

Do not plagiarize the position description itself; just ensure your resume matches what the employer is looking for.

3. Focus on Quantifiable Achievements Rather than Job Duties

Ensure that when you are writing your resume, you focus on your achievements. These set you apart from other applicants, rather than just explaining your specific job duties. If you have just completed college, and you graduated with honors, ensure that you include your GPA if it’s more than 3.2 for technical schools, and 3.5 for other schools. Include the scale that you were measured against, for instance a 3.78 on a 4.0 scale. If you work in customer service, don’t just write that you answered phone calls and resolved customer complaints, but rather that you handled approximately 250 calls a day and have a customer satisfaction rating of 98%.

4. Inconsistent and Unfocused Writing

Keep your resume writing consistent. Do not transition from a purely reverse chronological order resume, to a purely functional one. If you are going to mix resume formats, ensure that it is in a manner that is fluent and makes sense to the reader. Every indentation, date section, and bullet listing should be consistently formatted. 

5. Including Irrelevant or Outdated Information

If you want to include an impressive skill or hobby, but it does not support the objective for your specific field or position, skip it. For example, if you have had 2-3 internships and led a student-run club, there is no need to include your grocery store clerk position from four years ago unless it directly pertains to the role you’re applying for. A resume features the most relevant information. It’s tempting to add fluff to make yourself appear versatile and experienced. Avoid this, and instead focus on your most desirable and relevant skills.

6. Up-to-Date Contact Information

Ensure that the contact information that you have on your resume is accurate and up to date. Also ensure that any email address you are including is professional, links to any social media sites are professional, and that the information matches the information that you are providing to the hiring organization. Don’t use a hotmail email address, one that includes a nickname, or one with tons of numbers attached to it. These are easy red flags for employers looking for well-rounded professionals. 

7. Length

Hiring managers have very little time to peruse a resume to see if a candidate is qualified for a position or not. They need to see a resume that piques their interest within the first 20-30 seconds or the odds of that resume getting further attention is very slim. Your resume should never be longer than one page unless you are an executive or director with 10+ years of experience. Even then, it’s very unlikely you’ll absolutely need a second page to showcase your skills.

Avoid being a highly qualified candidate who is thrown into the trash heap for mistakes that are simple to avoid. Always have someone else proofread your resume for you to make sure you avoid these common resume writing mistakes.

At SolidEssay.com Ben Russel provides tutorials for students on how to write resumes, essays and research papers. With his colleagues, he has come up with an instructional piece on how to write a TOK essay.

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