The Top Ten Resume Mistakes

When you send off a resume to a potential employer, you want to have as strong a chance as possible of landing a job. This is why it is so critical to avoid the common mistakes that can plague a resume and lead to it being dismissed out of hand. Since we are all human and prone to making errors, it is helpful to have a guide that points out these common mistakes. So, here is that guide:

1 - Spelling and punctuation errors are probably the most common mistakes people make. When you have typos, spelling errors, and syntax problems, you undermine yourself as a serious candidate. Eliminate these resume writing problems at all costs!

2 - Unclear contact information. You need to be sure the resume contains your phone number, email, or address or it will not be very helpful to you since no one will be able to contact you.

3 - Unclear descriptions of prior work are a no-no. When you do not provide a detailed idea of the work you performed, you are not conveying any reliable information to the person reviewing the resume. Simply provided a job title and a few words of description are not enough. You need to be specific.

4 - One the flipside, you do not want to make the error of being to verbose in your descriptions. The person reviewing the resume will not have the time to filter through paragraphs upon paragraphs of descriptions so keep it brief.

5 - This does not mean you keep it too brief though. Generally, you want a brief paragraph or two of description. This should be a nice length to employ.

6 - Producing a resume that is completely in the same font is not good. You will want to vary the fonts and employ bold text and italics when necessary. When the resume contains the same text throughout, it becomes painful to read. Also, it is tough to discern the various different categories of the resume. So, vary text and font in order to make the resume more visually appealing.

7 - Adding graphics and designs to the header of the resume is more distracting then beneficial. Graphics come off more like ‘bells and whistles' and do not convey necessary information. As such, it is a step best avoided when you want people to take the resume seriously.

8 - Don't produce a duties centric resume. In other words, do not spend too much time describing what you did on the job. Instead, focus on your prime accomplishments instead as this will be much more impactful.

9 - Unfocused resumes are a proverbial disaster area. Be sure that your resume writing is properly designed so that it maintains clarity and focus. Categorizing the various sections of the resume will help prevent such a problem.

10 - A lack of action verbs makes a resume dull. That is why "oversaw support staff duties" sounds much better than "Support staff oversight was provided." Keep your resume loaded with action verbs as this makes for a much better read and impression.

Gail Esparan