Three Mistakes that Send a Resume Straight to the Shredder

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You likely already know just how difficult it can be to get a job, or even an interview; but it needn’t be quite as difficult if you’re confident that you’ve got a strong resume. When you’ve got total confidence in your resume’s ability to sell you as a person, you’ll feel much more comfortable applying to a whole range of jobs – and it’ll show in your performance at interview. You need to look at your resume as your counterpart; once you’re in the interview it serves as your sidekick, backing you up and making you look even better. But if your resume doesn’t do its job properly, you won’t be getting one – so you need to be sure that it’s working as hard as possible. You’ve probably been told exactly what to include when writing your resume a million times. With this in mind, let’s take a look at three things you need to avoid when making a resume.

Spelling and grammar mistakes

If there’s one thing that will get your resume thrown into the jaws of the shredder faster than anything it’s consistent spelling and grammar errors. One of the main things employers look for in new starters is attention to detail and the ability to communicate well. By littering your resume with errors, you’re proving only that you’re incapable of both. Obviously some people do have problems with spelling, punctuation, and grammar; however you should always have your resume checked by another set of eyes before it gets anywhere near an employer’s desk. When you’re making a resume you should always put yourself in the shoes of your potential new boss: don’t simply write it and forget it, read it over and over and triple-check it for any inaccuracies.

Over-exaggeration (or even lies)

Here’s a simple truth: almost everyone inflates the truth slightly when making a resume. It’s only natural to use elaborative language and create a sense of passion, dedication, and motivation. That’s just fine, and it’s almost expected by employers. However, if you over-do it, or actively invent qualifications or achievements, you could get yourself into real trouble. Lots of job-seekers seem to be under the impression that employers don’t verify any of the things on your resume – but nothing could be further from the truth. OK, so they may not call up your piano teacher and check that you really did get that Grade 4, but they’re very likely to double-check your academic qualifications – so always be as honest as possible! If you really feel that you need to elaborate, you do have some room in the descriptions of previous roles. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to take credit for a successful project if you had a good hand in it. So, this point actually works both ways: don’t lie, but don’t withhold or play down key achievements either. If you were the number one caravan insurance salesman in your city, or you secured a million dollar deal – shout about it!

Lack of direction or focus

Here’s something that the folks with the most successful resumes already know: you need to tailor your resume to the job. Because every job is different, even within the same industry, you need to be sure that your resume sells the skills that are most applicable to that role. If your resume is too ‘fluffy’ or general, employers will rapidly be turned off. You need to list the reasons why your particular skillset is perfect for the job and this job in particular. We’re not saying write an entirely new resume, far from it; you simply need to be sure that the resume fits the job. For example, if you wanted to work in marketing writing, you may want to add this to your area of interest section on your resume, rather than simply ‘marketing’. It makes you look more focused on the role, and it’ll let the employer instantly know that you are a suitable choice for the job.

There are of course many other things employers don’t like in a resume: one that’s too long, irrelevant experience listed, poor formatting, lack of detail, and much more. You’ll already know that resume writing is somewhat of an art form, but once you get it right it’ll serve you now and long into the future.


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