Common Resume Errors to Avoid
April 2011 (SmartPros) Creating a compelling resume takes time and care. Far too often, hurried job seekers hurt themselves by making costly -- but easily avoidable -- missteps.
Following are tips on crafting your document, along with some real-life resume blunders — dubbed “Resumania” by Robert Half International’s founder, Robert Half — collected by our company:
Proofread With Precision
Some people mistakenly believe proofreading involves little more than running spell-check. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on a computer program to catch every type of error, such as words that are spelled correctly but misused or misplaced. This is no small problem. Surveys by our company have consistently shown that just one typo in your resume can derail your chances of landing an interview because it calls into question your professionalism and attention to detail.
That’s why it’s wise to develop a proofreading procedure. Use spell-check, of course, but also slowly read your resume aloud several times on screen and on paper. Then, as an added safeguard, ask a friend or two to double-check your work. A fresh pair of eyes will often catch tricky grammatical goofs you overlooked. These applicants would have benefitted from some editing assistance:
* “Skills: Familiar with all faucets of accounting.”
* “Professional experience: Twenty-five tears in the accounts payable department.”
* “Skills summary: Quick leaner.”
Tailor Your Pitch
Submitting the same version of your resume to every company with an opening isn’t a particularly effective approach. You’re far better off customizing your document by spotlighting your skills and achievements that are most relevant to the requirements of each specific opportunity. For instance, if you’re applying for an entry-level audit role, you might play up the audit work you performed during a summer internship.
Closely review the job ad and the employer’s website to determine which aspects of your professional background to emphasize. While you don’t need to start from scratch every time, tweaking your pitch is well worth the extra effort. These candidates sent decidedly untargeted resumes:
* “Objective: A job. Any job will do. Give me one.”
* “Objective: I don’t have intentions of getting a specific job.”
* “Summary: I can do any type of office work, from lifting boxes to psychiatry.”
Finally, including extraneous personal information is another common resume faux pas. Busy hiring managers are interested in learning about what you can do for them — not what you do in your free time. Don’t mention a hobby unless it directly relates to your career. To wit:
“Interests: I enjoy Red Bull and Star Wars-related video games.”