When you’re looking for a new job, your resume is your calling card. It’s often the first time a potential employer gets to meet you. Obviously, you want to make a good first impression.
This means you don’t want a resume that leaves potential employers shaking their heads.
When most people think of mistakes, they think of misspelled words, poor formatting, and typos. These things are easy to avoid by proofreading your documents thoroughly. Even so, rarely will one little typo take you out of the running. Unless you are applying for a job as an editor.
But there are other mistakes that you probably don’t realize you’re making.
Here are three of the biggest resume mistakes:
The first thing a recruiter is likely to do after receiving your resume is to check you out on LinkedIn. This is often when inconsistencies crop up because your resume doesn’t agree with your LinkedIn profile.
This is not to say that your resume and LinkedIn Profile should be mirror images. But, they should agree when it comes to current and past employers, job titles, and dates of employment.
Unfortunately, when candidates prepare a resume they often “lump” all their work at an employer under their current (and likely most prestigious) title. This is bad for two reasons. First, it fails to show career advancement. Second it makes employers wonder what other inaccuracies they may find,
2. Incomplete Contact Information
While working as a recruiter, I was always amazed at the number of resumes without complete contact information. Some had email addresses and phone numbers. But, many had either one or the other.
When you’re looking for a job, it’s important to make it easy for interested parties to contact you. Some recruiters prefer to contact candidates via email. Others would rather just call.
Of course, if they really want to contact you it’s not impossible to find your phone number or email address. But why would you want to make a potential employer jump through hoops? Be respectful of the preferred communication styles of others by providing complete contact information. While you’re at it, put your LinkedIn address on your resume too.
3. Irrelevant Information
It’s amazing how many people still include irrelevant information on their resumes. My favorite to date was the candidate, looking for a job in advertising, who felt compelled to mention being an avid salsa dancer. Great if you’re applying to be a dance instructor. Otherwise, not.
The list is endless. Resumes that highlight outside activities that directly contradict a candidate’s job aspirations. Think an accountant with a side business designing jewelry. Resumes that include college sports activities, like being on the soccer team, when the candidate graduated 15 years ago. While you’re at it, unless you graduated in the last five years, there’s no reason to include graduation dates.
Besides, being irrelevant including a few lines about leading your college team to victory (unless you’re a recent grad) takes up valuable space that could be used to focus on your skills and achievements. Things that employers do care about.
Your resume needs to make a good first impression. One that will make a recruiter or hiring manager want to learn more. Hopefully, to already be thinking about contacting you for an interview.
Don’t waste valuable space with irrelevant information. Don’t confuse them with inconsistencies or make them go into detective mode to find you. Begin your relationship with a potential employer as the candidate to beat.