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Don’t make a resume mistake: 9 ways to ensure your resume is successful


Resumes are your first chance to show a company why you are a perfect fit for a role; done incorrectly they may be your last chance. This is why it is vital you get it right the first time.

For every resume mistake there is a solution. It may take some time to tweak your resume to fix them, but the end result is worth it. Check your resume right now to make sure you haven’t made any of the mistakes listed below.

Writing in the third person, or using I, He, Him, Her, She

A resume is a professional document that provides the specifics of your work experience. Writing it in the third person makes it sound like you are talking about someone else. On that note, using I, He, Him, Her, or She sounds just as strange.

Talk directly about what you did. Instead of saying “Jane was in charge of the sales team. She increased sales,” say “Lead a team of 8 sales consultants and grew yearly sales by 135%.” Avoiding this resume mistake will ensure that the person reviewing your information will have a better understanding of your accomplishments.

Copying your job description without tailoring it

A resume mistake that many candidates make is writing job descriptions that are unimaginative and a bit one-dimensional. When you talk about day-to-day tasks and never describe the impact you had in a role, you will lose the recruiter or line manager’s interest. Which won’t help your experience and skills shine. While a job description is a great place to start when updating your resume, that’s all it is, a place to start.

Focus your work experience on strategically marketing your best skill sets and career wins to the job posting you are applying for. Include any relevant major contributions, specialised skills, results, and key projects. Spice it up to distinguish yourself among all other applicants.

Not customising your resume for the job your applying for

When applying for multiple jobs it can be tempting to make the resume mistake of using a generic resume when applying to all the jobs you are interested in. Before you start the process of confetti job application, consider that this process can prevent your resume from even being read. If you are not mentioning the key skills needed for the role, no one will take the time to investigate your resume further.

It needs to be immediately clear to anyone reading your resume what parts of your experience aligns with their job. You can’t hope the reader can guess why you are qualified. While it can be a pain to customise your resume, if you are truly interested in the role it’s worth it. It shows that you took the time and energy to detail out why you would be a good fit.

Show, don’t tell

Don’t simply state how great you are without showing evidence to back it up. Lose the jargon and buzzwords that sounds great but really don’t give specifics. Words like creative, specialised, enthusiastic, and detail-oriented don’t really say anything about your real experience and what you offer prospective employers.

Instead of making the resume mistake of using frilly, descriptive words, demonstrate how you use those skills. Use the STAR method to provide details on the Situation, Task, Action and Result of different experiences you’ve had, initiatives you’ve participated in, and goals you’ve reached. Make sure to include specific metrics wherever relevant.

Repetition is boring

Repetition gets boring, and you don’t want to make the resume mistake of boring the person reading your resume. If you have a long work history, there is a likely chance your roles overlap. Overcome this by writing about each role in a different way. Vary your examples to capture all that you can do, instead of showing that you have done the same thing over and over. Doing so will create understanding of your true worth.

Errors on dates of employment

Make sure the dates of your employment are correct. You don’t need to include the day you started and finished each job – the year and month will do. Just ensure these are accurate! They need to match up with your LinkedIn profile, and details that your references will provide. Don’t make the resume mistake of padding your dates to make them look better. It’s not a lie you want to be caught in.

Missing employment history

Where you worked, and what you did is the most important part of your resume. Make sure company names are spelt correctly. Ensure your job title matches what your references will say. Use the location of where you worked, not where the head office is. Watch those little details – they can be a big resume mistake that could cost you a great opportunity.

Incorrect contact details

Make sure your contact details are at the top of your resume and easy to find. Include your phone number, email, and city address (you don’t need to include your number and street name). Then make sure they are all correct. Now check that your contact details on your social profiles are up to date, too. This is one resume mistake you cannot afford to make if you want a potential employer to contact you for a role you applied for.

Forgetting social media links

Use social media to your advantage. Add that extra layer to your resume by adding relevant professional social media links. In a constantly connected world, your social media sites help give you additional creditability. Recommendations and endorsements of your skills give insight into your value and professionalism.

You are an amazing person who deserves a tremendous job — make sure your resume is supporting that goal rather than impeding it!

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