Thanks to technology, sending a resume is easier than ever. You can simply pop your info into a template and send it out en masse to employers—no pavement pounding required. But
despite the simplicity of it all, it’s deceptively easy to make errors and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage.
One or two small errors probably wouldn’t land your resume in the HR shredder, but remember: You only have two minutes to make a good impression, so your resume has to be as close to perfect as possible. Here are some of the most common career-killing resume mistakes:
Forgetting Your Contact Information
Sounds super-obvious, but how do you expect a potential employer to contact you if they don’t know how to find you? Always double check to make sure your contact info is not only there, but also that it's up-to-date.
Sending Your Resume from an Inappropriate Email Address
You may be exceptionally proud of your firstname.lastname@example.org email address, but chances are your future employer won’t appreciate it. Get a new, more appropriate email address (preferably with your real name in it) and save the novelty address for your friends.
Using Non-Traditional Fonts or Formatting
Not everyone has the latest Word processing software, so all of your fancy fonts and formatting may look like garbage on someone else’s screen. And if they can’t read your resume, guess what: They’re not going to hire you. No employer in their right mind is going to spend hours deciphering your high-maintenance resume.
Lying About Your Experience and Skills
Don’t exaggerate your skills or invent jobs just to beef up your resume. If your store manager left you in charge for 7 minutes while he ran out to get coffee, that doesn’t make you a store manager. And if your former boss asked you to print out some Word documents, that doesn’t make you a Microsoft Office expert. These kinds of lies will get you in the door, but they’ll eventually slam that door in your face.
Including Bizarre Extracurriculars
Potential employers like to see that you have a life beyond work (ie proof that you’re human), but some interests should be kept private. Examples? Mixology, women/men, ferret racing, watching television, mushroom hunting, Elvish, weed wacking, LARPing or any other activities that may confuse the employer or leave them with a negative impression.
Using Friends as References
In this day and age, it’s really easy for employers to cyber-spy on potential employees. And while they’re busy creeping on your profile, they’re also checking out your friends. It’s a quick and simple way for employers to learn that your “boss” isn’t actually your boss, but rather that guy you’ve lived next door to since 2nd grade.
Forgetting to Delete Editing Comments
Had some outside help with your resume? Excellent! Handed in your resume without deleting their helpful, yet embarrassing, comments? Not so excellent.
Overlooking Grammatical and Spelling Errors
Careless grammatical errors and spelling mistakes undermine your skills and experience. Instead of relying on spell check (which won’t help you through the it’s/its and there/their fiascos), have a friend check it and double check it. Have a few friends look it over f you want to be extra sure.
Including Too Many Jobs
Chances are your employer doesn’t care that 6 years ago you flipped burgers to pay for your prom dress. Resumes should be summaries of the most important data, not a chronology of your entire working life. If the job’s skills and accomplishments are relevant to your desired position, then by all means include it, but including every part-time job you’ve ever had will only hurt your chances.
Being too Vague
Do you focus too much on responsibilities and not enough on actual accomplishments? Instead of saying you lead your organization in sales, give the numbers. Did you grow revenues from $50,000 to $75,000? From $500,000 to $1 million? How much money did you save the company because of your uber-productivity?
Including a Summary Paragraph
If you feel the need to include a paragraph summarizing your skills, then your resume isn’t good enough. Any skills, expertise, accomplishments, whatever, should be addressed in the resume itself.