Every hiring decision maker has their own resume preferences so while there is no “perfect” resume style, there certainly are cardinal mistakes to avoid. Over the years, I have given THOUSANDS of free resume critiques and continually see the following basic errors.
Typos, grammar and spelling mistakes
Your resume is the first point-of-contact you have with a potential employer. Do you really want to make a bad impression by failing to proofread and correct such avoidable errors? (Tip: When applying for a job in Canada, ensure your word processing software language is Canadian English and not US.)
Using a downloadable template
Yes the free resume templates look nice and certainly make it easy to create a basic resume but now you have created a resume that has the same “look and feel” of other job search candidates. The point of a resume is to stand out from your competition by creating a document that is unique to you, not a replica of someone else’s creation.
Inappropriate email address
Avoid using a Hotmail address in a resume as it is often considered too personal for career management purposes. Create a Gmail account or one from your ISP provider and keep the email address simple, encompassing just your first and last name. Do not use a shared email address (such as BarbieandKen@myisp.com) or a personalized email address (such as firstname.lastname@example.org).
Too long, too short, wrong format
The content of a resume should fill each page and never exceed 3 pages, with 2 pages being the standard document length. Do not send a resume that is 1 ¼ pages, 2.5 pages, or 5 pages). Also avoid using the “functional” style of resume as it is the least preferred format read (and tossed) by HR influencers.
Clearly identify at the top of the resume what role or type of role you are seeking (examples: Project Manager or Project Management Expert). A Hiring Manager is NOT going to take the time to guess what position you are seeking, they are simply going to move onto the next applicant.
Including an “Objective” statement
In my professional resume writing business, I have not used an Objective statement in over 10 years! An Objective statement immediately dates the resume. Today’s enticing resumes begin with a compelling personal brand statement, describing what is unique about you to the potential employer.
Not computer scannable
Increasingly, companies employing greater than 150 employees are now using computer technology to pre-qualify applicants. Called Applicant Tracking Software, the application scans each resume in search of keywords selected by the employer to be pertinent to the job. Your resume is heading to the online recycle bin if it does not include the right keywords aligned to the job function and employer.
Additionally, formatting techniques can negatively impact the scanning process. Features such as graphics, shading and underlines (not borders) or putting contact information in headers and footers, can be overlooked by certain scanning applications.
Boring read filled with job duties
A future employer wants to know about what you personally accomplished in each role, not a list of the job duties. Capture the reader’s attention by sharing stories of achievements with quantifiable metrics. Here’s an example: Consistently exceeded sales quota by >40% year-over-year, adding new clients in new sectors to the account base, boosting the company’s brand position in the GTA from #3 to #2 in 1 year.”
Leaving a career gap
A resume is about making an open and honest first impression. Only displaying certain jobs on a resume leaves the reader wondering why you intentionally omitted certain time periods in your document. I advise all my clients to tell the complete story, even if it means you took time off to raise a family or care for an elderly parent.
Includes unnecessary information
In North America, do not share age, sex, marital status, politics, and religion in a resume and save the head-shot picture for your LinkedIn profile. Unless there is a direct correlation between the target job and your personal interests or hobbies, leave this information off a resume as it is irrelevant. Also exclude the phrase “References available upon request” and exclude a list of references in the body of the resume. Create a separate reference page and share the document when asked by the future employer and not before.
Writing a key-word rich, scannable and achievement-based resume is one of the many specialties offered by career management professional, Martin Buckland of Elite Resumes. Tap his knowledge by submitting your resume for a free, no obligation phone critique. Just follow the link on this website to start the process and be sure to include a current phone number with your request or in your resume.
Martin Buckland, President of Elite Resumes, is a leading resume writer, career coach and job search strategist with a global clientele. Martin utilizes his 17 years of expertise to work interactively with senior level clients and those who aspire to be business leaders to initiate and develop career marketing strategies during their career transitions. Martin currently holds the following certifications: Master Resume Writer, Certified Professional Branding Strategist, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Job and Career Transition Coach, Certified Job Search Trainer and Co-Pilot Executive Coach. www.aneliteresume.com, email:
call 905-825-0490 or toll free 866-773-7863