Avoiding these most common resume mistakes is easy with a little foreknowledge:
- Sending out resumes with a poor appearance (folded wrong; poor quality paper; spelling errors; lack of white space)
- Writing resumes that are too long. One to two pages is appropriate for most people. Executives and those with over 15 years of experience can justify a resume of three pages in length.
- Using one resume to apply for all different kinds of jobs. You must refocus your resume each time you use it by weaving in the appropriate key words. If you’re applying for types of work that are quite different from one another, you may well need different resume versions.
- Failing to market yourself and sell your strengths. A resume is a brochure of your capabilities and credentials, so showcase them!
- Including illegal or irrelevant details. No photos please! While you’re at it, omit your references, descriptions of your personal life, and hobbies/interests unless extremely relevant to the position you are seeking.
- Writing in an inconsistent style. Remember to omit the word “I”. Don’t talk about yourself in the third person (has) – rather speak about yourself using first person (have). Begin all your bulleted statements with a power verb, and do not repeat power verbs if you can possibly help it.
- Emphasizing all of your previous positions equally. The whole point of a resume is to stress your most relevant skills, experience, and credentials. That requires you to shift your resume’s focus each time you use it, to draw attention to the relevant facets of your background and to draw attention away from your liabilities.