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How to make your resume better: Avoid the Top 10 resume mistakes

Posted by Goodwill Talentbridge on Sep 6, 2023 10:20:26 AM

Creating an eye catching resume is as much about avoiding mistakes as it is about knowing what to include. Learn how to edit your resume and help your resume stand out by avoiding these common blunders.

1. Incorrect Contact Information

Wondering why you're not getting many responses to your applications? Check your contact information. Make sure your phone number, email, mailing address, and other methods of contact are correct. A simple typo could cost you a huge opportunity.

2. Typos and Grammatical Errors

Grammatical errors and silly typos can lead employers to assume you are a poor writer, lack attention to detail, or don't take your career seriously. Always double-check your resume by reading it out loud before submitting.

3. Using a Canned "About Me" Section

Many candidates lose readers right at the start with overused statements like, “Accomplished professional seeking career growth." Instead, give employers something more specific about your career, your experience, and your accomplishments. For example: "An accomplished marketing manager with a track record of developing award-winning campaigns for Fortune 500 clients, contributing to 50% increase in stock value.”

4. Overloading your resume design

Sometimes less is more. When it comes to creating a visually appealing resume, it is important to resist the temptation of using multiple fonts. While changing fonts might seem like a good idea to make information on your resume stand out, using too many fonts can actually have the opposite effect.

Imagine a resume that is filled with wall-to-wall text, with different fonts for headlines, job descriptions, and accomplishments. This can be overwhelming and confusing for the reader, making it difficult for them to navigate through your qualifications and experience because they don't know what to look at first. When everything is bolded, underlined, or in a new font to give it emphasis, then nothing seems important. Remember, the average recruiter will first scan your resume and make a decision within 5 - 7 seconds about whether to go back and review it more closely.

Another way to avoid using multiple fonts is to maintain a clean and professional look. A cluttered resume with various fonts can make it appear unorganized and unprofessional. It is important to remember that your resume is a representation of yourself and your abilities, so it is crucial to present it in a polished and cohesive manner.

5. Lack of Specific Accomplishments

Your resume shouldn’t simply state the obvious to a hiring manager. Employers need to understand what an applicant has accomplished. Take a look at the following examples:

· Worked with multiple employees in a busy restaurant setting

· Recruited, hired, trained and supervised more than 20 employees in a restaurant with $2 million in annual sales

Both phrases could describe the same person, but the details and specifics in example B are more likely to grab an employer's attention.

6. Attempting the "One-Size-Fits-All" Approach

Edit your resume for every job application to show how and why you fit the specific position you are trying to obtain. Generic resumes are easy to spot, and almost always end up getting tossed. Statements from the job posting will catch the recruiter's eye and demonstrate your willingness to put in effort and take initiative because you are interested in this particular job.

7. Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments

It's all too easy to slip into duty-listing mode when updating a resume. For example:

  • Attended group meetings and recorded minutes
  • Worked with children in a day-care setting
  • Updated departmental files

But again, employers are looking for accomplishments. Demonstrate how you made a difference at each company, providing specific examples such as:

  • Increased efficiency by recording weekly meeting minutes and compiling them in a Microsoft Word-based file for future organizational reference
  • Developed three daily activities for preschool-age children and prepared them for a 10-minute holiday program performance
  • Reorganized 10 years’ worth of unorganized files, making them easily accessible to department members

When editing your resume, ask yourself these questions:

  • How did you perform the job better than others?
  • What were the problems or challenges you or your company faced? How did you overcome them? What were the results? How did the company benefit from your performance?
  • Did you receive any awards, special recognition, or promotions as a result?

8. Inappropriate Resume Length

You might have heard that you should write a 1 page resume. Instead think about what you need to include in your resume to stand out and showcase your abilities. If you have to delete impressive achievements to make your resume fit on a single sheet of paper, continue on to the second page. On the other hand, some candidates ramble about irrelevant or redundant experiences to make their resumes longer. To determine the appropriate length for you, ask yourself if each statement on your resume is going to get you an interview. Say what needs to be said, then stop writing.

9. Not Using Action Verbs

Avoid using phrases like "responsible for." Instead, use action verbs. Not only do these words showcase ingenuity, they help punch up the overall tone of a resume. For example:

  • Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk serving 4,000 students and staff
  • Increased organic search visits 20% year over year
  • Developed a comprehensive onboarding program for new hires

10. Leaving Off Important Information

Be sure to include jobs you've taken to earn extra money for school. Include the skills you've gained from these experiences, they will show how you can be an asset to your potential employer. For expert tips, make sure to learn how transferable skills can help your job search.

Next Steps to Creating an Eye-Catching Resume

There are plenty of landmines to avoid when writing a resume – you can be very careful, but there's always a chance you'll sabotage yourself by overlooking something. What’s the best way to avoid those mistakes?

Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at a Goodwill Workforce Connection Center. You'll get detailed feedback, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. Workforce Connection Center services are free, thanks to funding provided by revenue generated through Goodwill’s social enterprise business, including TalentBridge. TalentBridge profits are reinvested in Goodwill’s training and development programs, making working with TalentBridge a win for you and for your community.

Read our two simple steps to creating an award-winning resume.

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