Whether you are an entry-level candidate or an experienced professional, you have definitely been found wanting of making certain unpardonable mistakes when writing your resume. Such mistakes can affect one’s chances of being called for an interview. With barely six seconds to impress a recruiter, having any kind of blunders on your resume can be very costly.
Your resume is the first point of contact you make with a potential employer, so you need to make that first impression count.While recruiters scan resumes in search of qualifying criteria, they are also always on the lookout for reasons to eliminate candidates. This tactic makes sorting through hundreds of applications much easier, and more efficient.
Below are a few common mistakes to avoid when writing your resume to give you an excellent edge over the other candidates
- Typos, grammatical errors and stylistic blunders
You may be tempted to think that a small spelling mistake can be overlooked because it is not a big deal, but many recruiters will agree that such blunders are instant disqualifiers. Recruiters see them as an indication of sloppiness and a lack of attention to detail. It also suggests that the candidate is unprofessional. Whether you proofread it yourself or get a second opinion, conducting a thorough review of your CV is one of the key determinants of qualifying to the next stage or being disqualified. One of the key things employers look out for when reviewing a resume is proper formatting. Recruiters are looking for CVs that are easily scannable, clean and professional. Poor formatting reflects badly on you, as it looks like you are not meticulous. Your CV represents who you are so you need to make sure the layout is as close to perfect as possible. This means no typos or jarring font size halfway through.
2. Lack of customisation
One of the mistakes a lot of applicants make when applying for different jobs is that they use generic CVs. This is wrong. Depending on the role you are applying for, your CV must be tendered to fit a specific role. Each job has different requirements and specifications and you will need to rework your resume to reflect those requirements. Recruiters want to see applicants tailor their CVs or resumes to a job description. “Tailoring your CV” shows that you have conducted your research and have a clear understanding of the role in question and what is expected. This draws the employer’s attention to relevant skills you have learnt in your current role, even if the roles are not directly related to the job you are applying for. It is a good way to demonstrate that you are a good fit for the company and the role. You also have an added advantage if you have experience in similar roles, if not, tailor your CV to highlight experiences you have gathered in other positions.
3. Putting the wrong contact information and using an inappropriate email address
This is primarily because people tend to focus more on the content rather than the fine details. Providing wrong contact details can be detrimental to your job search. As a recruiter, I have come across a few applicants who seemed like a great fit on paper but did not provide accurate contact information to facilitate further discussion.
4. Failure to highlight achievements over duties
Another major resume mistake candidates often tend to make is highlighting responsibilities and duties rather than achievements and results. Apart from talking about your duties in your past or current roles, recruiters also want to understand the value you bring to the table and how you have leveraged your expertise to achieve stellar performance and make a real difference in these companies.
What you need to do to gain a competitive edge over other job seekers who have the same basic or similar experience and skillset is to rework your resume to highlight the positive effect or outcome of your efforts by highlighting your achievements rather than your duties.
5. Vague statements and overused phrases
Recruiters are looking for originality and specifics. Each statement on your resume should tell a clear story of something you did that is impressive and relevant to the role you are looking for.
6. Inappropriate resume length
Using an inappropriate resume length can affect your chances of being shortlisted. Your CV should not be too long or too short. Averagely, recruiters can receive up to 100 applications for a particular role. Due to the workload, a recruiter cannot spend as much time reviewing a lengthy resume. If your resume is too long, it is probably not going to be read at all. Don’t write too much as you are likely to repeat yourself – go straight to the point and be concise. For entry-level candidates and those who have up to 5 years experience, it is recommended to develop a resume of not more than two pages. However, don’t make your resume too short. Anything under a page will imply that you do not have much to say about your experience and your skills, and indirectly do not have anything to offer.
7. Too much emphasis on the past, not enough on the future and exaggerating the truth
It is not only about what you’ve done but it is about what you are going to do going forward. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking your resume is about your past; instead, think of it as your next step into your future. As a marketing tool, your resume needs to focus on your experiences, skillsets and accomplishments. Writing that you’re an expert at something ( when clearly you are not) might seem like a great idea at the time, but when you are eventually given the nod and you are expected to deliver you will be found wanting and your credibility and legitimacy will be questioned. Be open and honest about what you know and what you look forward to learning. There is always room for improvement, learn new skills and gain more knowledge.
Selina Buabeng, is a Human Resource Professional with over 11 years’ experience in Strategic Human Resource Management, Talent Development, Employee Relations, Labour Law etc. She is a Certified Human Resource Practitioner with certification from the Institute of Human Resource Practitioners Ghana. She also holds an MBA in Human Resource Management and BSc. Human Resource Management from the University of Ghana and Valley View University respectively. She has extensive experience working within Ghana’s banking sector. Currently, Selina works with one of Ghana’s leading banks as a Talent Resourcing & Onboarding Professional. She also runs a YouTube Channel Selina Buabeng where she shares relevant job search and career development tips for individuals.
Connect with Selina via:
LinkedIn: Selina Buabeng
Youtube: Selina Buabeng