I’m not certain if it’s the fact that I took classes in Human Resources, chat with a number of job seekers, have searched for a job at different stages of my career or just my love for writing in general that has made resume writing enjoyable for me.
I’ve had to learn the hard way in many cases which is something that I’ve equally come to take advantage of as I believe that it’s taught me a number of lessons over time which I love sharing here. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with experts in recruitment and all of this has helped me realize a number of mistakes that many candidates make when it comes to their resume.
A resume is one of the first steps to finding a job and a good opportunity to land an interview (in the job you want!). As a result of this platform, I’ve had the opportunity to review several candidates’ resumes and I have noticed a number of mistakes they make unconsciously.
This article has been in the works for some time now, but I believe that this might be holding back a number of job seekers from landing an interview of choice, so I’m sharing this for anyone who might find this useful. While there are many other mistakes job seekers make, here are 5 mistakes job seekers often make on their resumes. Note that this article has been crafted for Canadian residents, however, these are tips you could apply if you reside in a different country.
1. Your resume is wordy
If your resume is repetitive and lengthy this gives a headache to the recruiter who will review it. Having interviewed candidates, worked with recruiters in the past and questioned many others on things related to resume, they are humans and have deadlines to meet in closing up openings. This results in recruiters spending seconds on each resume. Imagine you have over 300 resumes to review for just one open position.
If something isn’t remotely related to the job description, there is simply no need to include it. Keep in mind that your aim isn’t to repeat the job description — they drafted that! Your aim should be to highlight why you are the best candidate in a brief way that makes them want to reach out to you.
Most often than not, companies will use an ATS to screen resumes during the initial stages of the interview process. This means that you should be aiming to beat the system, but how do you do this?
Keep your resume as short as possible! It’s really important to keep this in mind. A maximum of 5 bullet points of a line each or less is best. Include keywords from the job description in your list of experience. Use terms that are related and necessary. Remember, it’s a resume, the whole idea is to make it short and simple, as it’s not a CV.
2. There is no qualification, skill or convincing reason why you deserve an interview
It’s important to not shoot your self in the foot while job hunting. Your resume has to expressly show that you are an achiever!
There are a number of ways you can do this to stand a higher chance and be equal to other candidates competing for the same position. What certifications are you taking? Another education maybe? These are ways to show that you are progressing and taking professional development seriously. If you don’t have enough money to pay for a course as many professional courses can be quite expensive, take a free course online related to your chosen career and include this information on your resume!
What tools have you used in the past that will be relevant to the job position? Include this in your resume. You’ll find the necessary tools needed in the job description. If you haven’t used the particular software, for example, think of any other competing software you might have used in the past which accomplished similar result and list that in your resume.
Note that listing irrelevant or basic skills that everyone is expected to have isn’t necessary. Be more specific by listing out the technical skills you have.
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3. Giving too much information
Too much information which is unnecessary might come back to hunt you. This applies in life and in a job hunt. The whole idea of submitting your resume is to land job interviews where more information can be gotten from you. If you end up giving information overload, you stand the risk of making the interviewer have a second thought.
For example, if you reside in Toronto and job hunting in the city and your first language is English, there shouldn’t be the need for you to write ‘English-speaking’ on your resume. Now, the interviewer might be of the impression that your speaking/ language skills aren’t strong. This isn’t necessary if the job description is already in the English language.
On the other hand, if you were applying for a role in Ottawa for example, and the job description states that fluency in another language will be an asset and you include ‘French-speaking’ on your resume, that will suffice as this is a requirement and you are bilingual which stands you out from the crowd.
As a rule, always submit your resume in the same language as the job description is posted.
4. There is no spark
Your resume should stand out no matter how little. I’ve had past employers explain that they want to know that a candidate is human on the face of their resume. Are there extracurricular activities that you engage in that might be a transferable skill to the new role?
For example, if you manage a blog and are applying for marketing jobs, adding this to your resume will be the icing on the cake. It’s okay to have the right qualifications, but you’ll also be showing that this is your passion and something you can add to the team if accepted for the job.
5. Using a generic resume for every application
Try as much as possible to tailor your resume to each job application you send. This will stand you out from the many job seekers. A simple way to do this is to streamline your job search to a number of roles that you want to apply for. Look at a number of job descriptions and look for similarities. Use this information on your resume. Adopt this resume to other jobs, repeat and create resumes that match the description. So if you have decided to apply for 3 different roles, you’ll end up having 3 resumes and you can rename it in a way you alone can distinguish.
You can then use these when applying for jobs. Note that there might be some roles that might have special requirements, it’as advisable to take note of this and keep updating/ tweaking your resume as necessary.
As provided by employment regulations, recruiters should adhere to the law and shouldn’t be biased. However, let’s keep in mind that they are humans and have to make decisions from the applicant pools which can run in hundreds. The last thing you want to do is unknowingly reduce your chances of raising your resume to the top list.
If you’ve been making these mistakes in the past, that okay! Dust out your old resume and get to work on it using these tips. The future is bright and this is the best time to get on your goals. For a complete resume checklist, check out our resource page.
What do you think? Have you made these mistakes in the past and will you be applying these tips? If you enjoyed this article, remember to subscribe to the blog to receive exclusive information right in your inbox and please share this post with someone who will find it useful. There won’t be spams, that’s a promise!