Getting a job can be a difficult task. The current unemployment rate is low, meaning that most people are working. This also means that companies in need of employees may have people lining up out their doors competing for one open position. As if finding a job isn't hard enough, right?
You may find yourself applying for a lot of jobs, so making sure you are putting the right information out to be evaluated is key. Why waste your time applying for job after job if you never get an offer?
Many employers request a resume from their applicants. As a job seeker, it is easy to quickly upload the most recent resume file you have on your desktop and click submit. However, this could in fact be what is keeping you from getting an interview, and ultimately a job offer. Your resume is often your first impression with a company. Don't wait for an interview to begin showing a company how great of a candidate your are!
You may already have a resume. If so, that's great! Now before sending that resume, check out these five common resume mistakes that may be preventing you from getting an interview.
1. Leaving Questions Unanswered
The goal of writing a resume is to sell an employer on your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience. You want to illustrate through a single piece of paper how great of a candidate you are and let the employer make the connection between your resume and how you will be an asset to their company. Obviously you want to put all of the positive things on your resume, but if you look and see that something is still unclear or sketchy, there are other steps you must take. For instance, let's say you graduated with an accounting degree a year prior. You are currently a bookkeeping assistant attempting to get a job with a private accounting firm. This bookkeeping position is the only position your put on your resume because prior to completing your degree you worked as a waitress while getting through college. An employer would see that you have a degree in accounting and some experience in the field. However, they also see that you have only had one job and held it for about a year. Why has this candidate only had one job? Are they only going to commit to our position for a year? Don't leave these questions for the employer to answer without talking to you. Put down your job as a waitress. It may not be related, but an employer can see that you worked while in school (time management skills) and you were able to hold that job for several years. These "soft skills" combined with some work experience and knowledge are great things for a candidate to be able to demonstrate on their resume.
2. Writing Too Little
For years we have heard about not writing too much on a resume. Now, this is true. It is important to limit yourself to one page and be concise. Employers don't have the time to thoroughly read every single resume they receive. If they cannot get the details quickly enough, they will move on to the next. While to much information can be bad, so can too little. Ideally, your resume should be a page in length. Because this is standard, anything longer is a nuisance and anything shorter leads the employer to believe you don't have enough skills or experience. Writing too little can also cause you to sell yourself short. You always want to give enough details to convince the employer that you have what he is looking for. If you can do this, the employer is going to want to meet the person behind the skill set.
3. Visually Unappealing
What is appealing or attractive depends on the individual. However, most of us that see someone with rainbow-colored hair would probably think it was strange or unappealing. Thus, that first impression is not necessarily a positive or professional one. The same rules apply for your resume. You want any employer to see you as a professional that will represent the company in a way that is appealing to the public. If your resume is too strange-looking or disorganized, you will not send a positive message about who you are as a professional. Keep your resume neat and appealing. If you want to make your resume different, use resume paper or paper with a slight tan tint. This will help your resume stand out without looking ridiculous.
4. Using A Single Resume
Even if you know exactly what field you are going to work in, that does not mean that every job you may apply for in that field will require the same duties and qualifications. Because not all jobs are the same, your resumes should not all be the same either. By using the same resume for every job you apply for, you are missing our on important opportunities to get recognized. A generic resume is not tailored towards a specific job , so it will not be written to reflect the job description of the position you are applying for. Keep a standard resume, but always make changes before applying for any job. If the job description mentions customer service, bookkeeping, and accounts payable, so should your resume if you have those skills or experience to any degree.
5. Poor Spelling
There is no excuse for misspelling ANYTHING on your resume. This is your first impression - your professional introduction. Poor spelling tells an employer that you are not detail-oriented enough to notice mistakes. You are too lazy to review your work and make sure it is done right. At this point, the employer has lost focus on the content in your resume. Instead of seeing a great candidate with excellent experience and skills, they see a lazy person that does not care enough about the job to present himself well.
Now review your own resume. How would you feel if you were an employer looking at this resume? Is there anything you don't like or understand? Would you pick up the phone right away or would you shred it?