Have you ever submitted your resume for a job with requirements that your skillset matched to a T, only to find out the company decided to go with someone else? In a competitive market, even the slightest hiccup in your resume can be the difference between landing that new job and continuing the search. Here are a few small, but important, mistakes to avoid when putting together your resume.
The general rule for resume length is one page per 10 years of experience. It may be difficult to cram all of your relevant experience into one or two pages, but especially in the low-attention span era of today, a long resume will not be read over very closely. As Michael Scott, Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin says, “K-I-S-S: Keep It Simple Stupid”. Keep your resume simple and to-the-point. It will show your employer that you have the ability to concisely portray the most important and relevant aspects of your job experience (and that you don’t’ think so highly of yourself that you can’t possibly skip one).
This seems like a no-brainer. Perhaps such a no-brainer that folks forget to manually proofread, because a 2013 CareerBuilder survey discovered that over half of resumes have typos – 58% to be exact. As the sign on my freshman year English teacher’s wall said “Dew nut reel eye on spill chick fore tie pose”.
This is the number 1 no-no. Say you lie about your job experience or college degree and land the job. You work your way up through the company, ten years later, you’re up for a big promotion. Then some information comes out that you didn’t actually graduate from Ohio State – in fact, you dropped out during your last semester. Not only are you not getting that promotion, you could be getting fired. This seriously happens, and it’s not worth it in the long run. Not only will you lose your job, but the fact will follow you around for the rest of your life. Especially in the internet age, it’s easy to get caught, so just don’t do it.
Many companies have strict confidentiality agreements when it comes to sharing client names. Trying to detail a client you’ve worked with, but leaving out the name in your resume, is still not of benefit to you, especially if it’s glaringly obvious who the client is. This displays a desire for self-advancement that far exceeds desire to respect your employer’s privacy and confidentiality agreement. If you’re willing to reveal your former employer’s secrets, what’s to keep you from doing it once your time is up at the job you’re applying for?
The top priority for you in terms of formatting and layout should be readability. Unless you’re trying to land a job as a graphic designer, you need not spend a whole bunch of time coming up with a creative and unique page layout. All you need to concern yourself with is that your name and contact information is at the top of each page, spacing between lines and columns is consistent, and there’s no variation of fonts throughout the document (heading sizes, bold, italic, underline notwithstanding). If you’re emailing the resume, make sure you send as a PDF so that none of that formatting you worked on gets lost between media.