between yours and someone else’s resume getting to the interview stage. As a small business owner we receive many resumes, and there are a few things that stand out amongst them that help make the decision as to who we will interview and who we will not.
Below are our top ten resume mistakes:
Long Winded – It is great that you are older and experienced, but if you are applying for a
specific job with us, we don’t need to know what you did in grade school back in the day. We can discuss that later as we get to know you, but for now, we want to know the skills you have that will match you with our company and the position we are looking to fill.
One page resumes are perfect - If you really can’t fit it all on one page then possibly two, but nothing more than that. You need to get your point across quickly.
Since we wear a lot of hats running a small business, we do not have the time to read pages or books of resumes. Get to the point right away, and let us know what you can do for us.
Typos and Grammar – If English is not your first language, but you feel you can communicate well then get help with your resume. Nothing puts us off more, than spelling mistakes and especially grammar errors. If we can’t get into the “flow” of what you are trying to say, then we
will become frustrated and your resume will end up in the trash pile.
Many larger corporations will spend approximately 5 seconds on your resume before deciding
to keep on reading. Your resume has to get to the point quickly and if it is full of spelling mistakes and grammar errors this will not happen.
Use Action Words – One way to get across or promote your skills is to state what you accomplished rather than what your duties were. Listing your duties doesn’t really tell us if you actually did these tasks or had the proper skills.
If you “improved” a process or “created” something, this will give us the idea that you know what
you are doing and can use your skills, so tell us what you did.
Skip the Fancy Paper and Graphics – If you are mailing us a paper copy, then use simple white paper and skip all the fancy graphics. Stick to black ink and normal text. Don’t go using text from ancient times, it is too hard to read, this is not a play script but a resume! Simple works best here.
If you are emailing the resume, make sure we are the only one in the “to” line. I don’t need to see that you “mass mailed” all your resumes in one go to save time! You don’t want the companies you are applying to, to see the list of other companies on your email.
Using keywords in the resume - This means quote the job you are applying to, or list your skills and how they would apply to this job.
Many larger companies will use keywords to weed out general resumes. If your resume doesn’t have any reference to skills that would match a job they are looking to fill, then it may not even
get to first base when it comes to looking at your resume.
Simple resume mistakes can make the difference. If you are what we are looking for, you may miss out on the job, simply because you were not careful with your resume. You do not need to hire expensive resume writers, or agonize over it, but get to the point quickly and get someone else to proof read it, don’t depend on spell check, this will not help for grammar errors.
Presentation – Invest in a proper envelope that fits the resume. Don’t fold it into quarters and then mail it in that return envelope you got with your telephone bill (yes we have had one of those with the company information blacked out and the new address stuck on top). I am all for “reusing” and “recycling”, but this is one instance where a clean and simple envelope works best if you are mailing us your resume.
Dropping in Person – There is nothing wrong with dropping it off in person, but don’t simply pull it out of your back pocket, all folded up, and throw it across the desk, covered in coffee stains.
Make sure you are dressed decently and you are clean. We don’t need to see you clutching your resume still dressed in the dirty coveralls from your day’s work. Try to be as clean as possible when you hand in your resume. You never know, this might be the day the boss is walking by and sees you and interviews you on the spot.
You may need to shake their hand, and this could be embarrassing for both of you. So take some time on your appearance, even if all you are doing is hand delivering your resume.
Hobbies section larger than the work section – It is great that you have hobbies and interests, but really if they don’t pertain to the job, you should keep these to a minimum or not at all, if this makes the difference between having a one page resume and a multi-page one.
I have seen resumes that have paragraphs on all their interests, and less about their job experience, which doesn’t look good.
Appropriate email address – Many corporations now, only accept emailed resumes, which is fine, and if you have a great resume, you don’t want to tarnish it with a geeky address, such as Large XXXX @hotmail.com for example.
Take the time and set up a new email address that is respectable, as this will show when you send in that resume. You can do this for free at most sites, just stick to your name or simple words for the
address. This is not the time to use your nickname from college or worse!
Hopefully the above top ten resume mistakes will help you with your own resume. Avoid complicating yours, keep it simple and to the point, promote yourself and what you can do for the company and on one page and chances are you will make it to the interview stage! Good luck!