You’ve been applying to jobs like crazy, but it seems as though all of your applications have disappeared into the black hole of the Internet. Wondering why your resume isn’t getting you any interviews? We’re willing to bet it’s not because you’re unqualified or just not good enough (which, for the record, you are good enough). It’s likely because resume mistakes are causing one or more fatal errors.
Job seekers, beware! All it takes is just one to strike your job search dead in its tracks. Definitely something entry-level workers need to be on the lookout for when writing your first resume.
Think your resume is perfect and bulletproof? Even the most experienced professionals still find themselves guilty of making resume mistakes. Plural.
With only a mere six seconds to “wow” a recruiter, having any kind of mistake on your resume is not a risk even the most daring of job seekers should take. After all, your resume is the first point of contact you make with a potential employer, so you want that first impression to be a strong, clear demonstration of just how awesome you are at what you do. That’s how you get an interview—and then once you rock that, a job.
2. Lack of Specifics
Your resume shouldn’t simply state the obvious to a hiring manager. Employers need to understand what you've done and accomplished. For example:
A. Worked with employees in a restaurant setting
B. Recruited, hired, trained and supervised more than 20 employees in a restaurant with $2 million in annual sales
Both of these phrases could describe the same person, but the details and specifics in example B will more likely grab an employer's attention.
3. Attempting the "One–Size–Fits–All" Approach
Whenever you try to develop a generic resume to send to all job ads, you almost always end up with something employers will toss in the recycle bin. Your lack of effort screams, “I’m not particularly interested in your company. Frankly, any ol’ job will do.”
Employers want to feel special and want you to write a resume specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.
4. Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments
Your resume needs to show how good you are at your job, but it's all too easy to slip into a mode where you simply start listing your duties. For example:
- Attended group meetings and recorded minutes
- Worked with children in a day-care setting
- Updated departmental files
That’s more or less an echo of your job description. Employers, however, don't care so much about what you've done as what you've accomplished in your various activities. One of the most basic resume tips is to go beyond showing what was required and demonstrate how you made a difference at each company, providing specific examples. They're looking for statements more like these:
- Recorded weekly meeting minutes and compiled 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 unwieldy files, making them easily accessible to department members
Need help? Ask yourself these questions:
- How did you perform the job better than others?
- What were the problems or challenges faced? How did you overcome them? What were the results? How did the company benefit from your performance?
- Did you receive any awards, special recognitions, or promotions as a result?