While some companies are moving to a virtual profile for job recruiting, the majority still prefer the old-fashioned paper resume. When applying for jobs, remember that you don’t know how many other candidates they have; the resume could make or break your opportunity to get the employer’s attention. The key is to get the interview and the resume, if done correctly, is what will get you there. Avoid these five common mistakes to ensure you remain in the race.
1. Spelling and grammatical errors. Having any sort of spelling or grammatical error on your resume or cover letter is absolutely unacceptable, especially with spell check on every computer. Always have a “second set of eyes” read your document to make sure you have everything spelled correctly and that everything makes sense. While this is not the most common mistake, it’s the one that will most certainly knock you out of the running. It shows that you do not pay attention to detail.
2. Lack of organization. There are many things a resume can tell an employer besides the recitation of your skills. Your ability to organize is one of them. If your resume isn’t well organized, it can derail your whole job-searching process. The resume should be organized in various sections – Education, Work Experience, etc. – separated by headings. And the various parts should be in a consistent style. If one heading is in bold type, then all headings should be in bold type. All the dates should be lined up on the same margin. My advice is to start out with a blank document and go from there. Using templates can throw you off.
3. Too long. Unless you’ve been in the industry for more than 10 years or are in upper management, you should stick with a one-page resume. A longer version becomes more acceptable as your experience increases. A recommendation: If you do go to two pages, you want to make it a full two pages. If you don’t have enough information to create that full second page, you should work fit everything on one. Most of the time this can be accomplished by adjusting font size and margins.