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15 Dumbest Mistakes in Your Resume Never to Make

15 Dumbest Mistakes in Your Resume Never to Make

Are you trying to make a good first impression with your resume? If so, avoid making the following 15 dumbest resume mistakes or you will never get a second chance.

1. You have a long, rambling cover letter

If you write a very long cover letter, the future employer will never even get to your resume. The secret here is to briefly list your qualifications, experience, and what you can offer the company. That’s it.

2. Your resume is too long or too short

The recruitment manager is a busy person. Your resume may be one of five hundred! Two pages are generally regarded as ideal for a job-seeker with some experience. A one page resume is fine for an entry level employee.

3. You do not use relevant keywords

When you do this, the scanner used to filter out unsuitable candidates at the initial stage will certainly reject yours. Avoid this error by studying the job description and advertisement so that you know what the main keywords are. Then, relate your qualifications and experience to them.

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4. You do not tell the truth

You have stated that you have relevant experience in certain areas or have qualifications which are non-existent.  If you ever do get to the interview stage, this will come against you big time when discovered. Employers carry out checks, so you have been warned.

5. You attach a file named ‘resume’

If you are making an application by email and attach a file vaguely named as ‘resume,’ this is a big mistake. The recruitment section will find it difficult to trace your application. Save the attachment with your own name. Remember that about 25% of employers now accept digital applications only and will trash those that arrive by ‘snail mail.’  Check carefully how applications are to be submitted.

6. You make vague references to your duties

If you use words like ’assisted with,’ ‘supported finance manager,’ or ‘responsible for,’ you will never be shortlisted. The secret here is to use much more specific words with details of how, when, and what was achieved. For example, the following examples are more specific and will make a favorable impression:

  • Wrote and implemented an absence policy which reduced absence levels from 25% to 11% over a twelve-month period
  • Managed restructuring program which led to a reduction in running costs of 15% over a two-year period
  • Initiated social media policy which increased website traffic by 30% in six months

7. You include irrelevant personal information

If you mention your height, weight, ethnic background, or even marital status, this is regarded as being unnecessary and will be a black mark. Similarly, giving extensive details about hobbies and interests will be treated in the same way. If you mention that you have extensive experience with video games, this will be another howler unless, of course, the position is for a video game designer or marketing manager!

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8. Your resume has several typos and howlers

Yes, spelling is important! If you have not checked your application for typos and grammatical errors, then it will be trashed. Some recent howlers should make you laugh and think:

  • Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave.
  • I’m good at timekeeping. I wake up at 6am on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • Willing to work anywhere in the English speaking world and/or Washington D.C.

9. You use a standard template

You are not going to stand out and your resume will be the same as hundreds of others. Consider this:

  • Bullet point instead of long, rambling sentences
  • Leave a one inch margin all around
  • Implement lots of headings
  • Stick to normal fonts (maximum two)
  • Use normal white paper
  • No need to attach a photo collection of your whole life or indeed a head-shot

10. You use text message language

This is a no-brainer but many people are still doing it. They think it is trendy to use abbreviations which are used in text messages. They think that this shows that they are modern and want to save time and space. Typical examples are the use of ‘u’ instead of ‘you.’ Capital letters seem to be out of fashion. Take home message? Just use standard language.

11. You never mention your skills

In one survey, it was discovered that about 35% of resumes had not mentioned the applicant’s skills. About another third of applicants had copied wording from the job advert. The resume is your only chance to show off your skills.

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12. You use cliche phrases

If you describe yourself as a ‘team player,’ a ‘good communicator,’ or you are ‘results-oriented,’ then you are not going to stand out as a potential candidate for interview. Everybody uses these phrases!

13. You list your jobs incorrectly

Standard procedure is to put your latest position at the top of the list. Then work down to your first job. The same applies to education and qualifications. You always list the most important and most recent one at the top.

14. You say ‘I’ too much

Employers prefer to see statements about key achievements. It is obvious that it is you, so no need for pronouns. The following statement does not use any pronoun and is preferred

  •  Developed new service that added $3 million in sales and increased market share by 10%

15. You do not list references correctly

Making a statement like, ‘References available on request’ is not acceptable. Simply list your references with name, position, address, and email or phone number. You should also mention how they know you and in what context you worked together.

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How many mistakes have you made? Maybe time to get back to the drawing board and write a really great resume that will stand out from the crowd. Bookmark this page!

Featured photo credit: Wendy walks through resume writing/ Gangplank HQ via Flickr

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on January 28, 2020

How to Ace an Interview: Nailing the 10 Most Tricky Questions

How to Ace an Interview: Nailing the 10 Most Tricky Questions

As someone who has been in recruiting for over 10 years I can tell you the interview is vitally important to getting that new job you really want. During the interview process, there will most likely be at least 2 interviews, a phone interview and an in person interview. Both are important.

Companies can of course have different interviewing processes but in general, there is at least one phone interview, also known as a phone screen, and a live, in-person interview. The in-person interview can be with one person or it might be with a variety of people. While they are both important, the live interview is typically the one that will make or break you as a candidate for the position you are interviewing for.

Many of the interview questions we will review here will more likely come up during the live interview. But it’s a good idea to be prepared for them on the phone interview as well.

To illustrate how important the live interview is, I’ll tell you about my search that happened a year ago. I’d decided it was time to move on from the role I’d been in for a little over 6 years. As I started researching and looking for a new opportunity, I began down the path with 2 companies. With the one I landed with, I’d had 3 separate phone screens, each one an hour long. They must have thought they went well because I was asked to fly to the city where the corporate office is at and do an in-person interview. — with 8 people.

Yeah, it was a long day. The good news is I rocked the interviews across the board. I flew home that evening and the following day, I received a call with the job offer. That was less than 24 hours after I’d had the in person interview. This is how important the live interview is.

So how to ace an interview? We can dive right in to helping you nail the 10 most tricky interview questions:

1. What’s Your Biggest Weakness?

This is a personal favorite of mine. The primary reason for this question is not to actually find out what your biggest weakness is. Unless of course, you say something like “showing up to work on a regular basis,” then it’s probably going to get you kicked out of consideration for the role.

The main reason for someone asking you this question is to see if you are self-aware. That is if you know your weaknesses and are smart enough to account for them.

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The smart play here is to answer in a modest way. You want to be able to show that your biggest weakness actually has an upside. For instance, I usually say that mine is impatience. Which is true, I like to get things done. But what I ensure what I point out is that even though I am impatient, it’s because I like to crank and get a lot of work done.

2. Why Do You Want to Work Here?

Interestingly enough, a lot of people don’t have an answer to this question. It’s designed to find out if you’ve actually done research on the company and if you are excited about this position.

When I ask this question, many people have told me something like “because it looks like a good opportunity”. I mean, can you be any more generic?

The key to answering this is to show you’ve done research on the company and that you are enthusiastic about the actual position. Companies want people that are excited to work there, not just someone that shows up for a paycheck.

3. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Employers are asking you this question to see if you have somewhat of a plan for your career. It doesn’t have to be completely mapped out in a step by step manner but, a general overall plan is good to see. It means you are goal oriented and are working towards something.

Don’t worry about answering in a way that states you are planning on sticking with the company until you retire. Rather, focus more on how it’s important to you to continue to learn and get better and better at what you do. Companies like to hire self-motivated people.

4. Tell Me About a Time You Messed Up

Or tell me about a time something didn’t work out the way you planned. Similar in concept. The key here is to show that you take accountability for your actions and how you react to things going wrong.

Companies like to see that you are willing to accept responsibility for the things you oversee and own up when you are wrong. People that always find a way to blame their missteps on other people or circumstances typically don’t make good team mates.

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The other component here is things don’t always go as planned, how good are you at adapting and thinking on your feet.

5. Why Are You Looking to Leave Your Current Job?

This may seem like a place to launch into all the things you don’t like about your current job. Or to talk about what a terrible person your boss is. Don’t do it. That’s the path you do not want to go down. And that’s really what this question tends to prod out of many people.

If I am interviewing you and ask this question and you tell me all the ways your boss doesn’t appreciate you and your company has terrible leadership, I’m thinking what you’re going to be saying about me in a year when you are interviewing somewhere else.

Make sure you are framing your answer in a way that doesn’t shed bad light on your current or most recent employer. You want to focus on things like you’ve enjoyed working for the company but your growth options are limited there so you are exploring outside opportunities.

6. How Would Your Current Manager Describe You?

This question gives you the opportunity to show off your strengths and what your boss appreciates about what you bring to the table. You want to focus on the positive traits that your boss likes and how it helps you in your role.

What you do not want to do is sprinkle in the things your boss doesn’t think as highly of. Don’t say something like my boss would describe me as a focused worker, at least on the days I make it into the office.

7. Tell Me About a Time You Overcame an Obstacle

Another one of my favorite questions. Interviewers ask this question to see if you are able to deal with roadblocks.

Things don’t always go smoothly, so having people on the team who are able to solve problems has huge upside.

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Being able to overcome obstacles is a great trait to have. Make sure you have a few stories about how something didn’t go as planned that caused a challenge and how you were involved in solving the problem. It’s a way of turning a bad situation into a good one.

8. Why Should We Hire You?

If you are at the point of a live interview, you should be highly interested in the position.

By this point, you should have a pretty clear picture of what the role is and how your skills and experience will help you succeed. The reason this question is being asked is to see if you are the right candidate for this role.

This gives you a great opportunity to tell your interviewer how your expertise will positively impact the role. Right now, you are in the spotlight to clearly show that your experience is the perfect fit for the position and why. Shine on!

9. What’s Your Greatest Achievement?

Employers tend to ask this question to gain an understanding of what your big wins were. What are the really impactful things that have happened during your career and how you were the reason why they happened.

This is another great opportunity for you to toot your own horn. What you want to be conscious of is how you tell the story about your biggest achievement. You want to make sure you say why it was such a big achievement.

If possible, it’s always good to include your team as part of the big win. Employers love to hire people who can make things happen but, it’s also important they understand the importance of team work.

10. Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

You might be asking yourself why this is a tricky question. Honestly, it’s not a tricky question if you are prepared for it.

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What the interviewer is looking for here is how interested and excited you are for the position. You’d be surprised at how many people answer this question with a blank stare or have no questions prepared.

Again, if you are at a live interview, you should be highly interested in a position and the company. You will convey how interested you are in the opportunity with some well thought out questions to ask.

You don’t want to just ask one question like “How often is payday”? Have at least 4 to 5 questions prepared but don’t overwhelm your interviewer with dozens and dozens of questions. Show that you’ve given some serious thought to this position by coming prepared with solid questions to ask.

The Bottom Line

There you go, insight to nailing the 10 most tricky questions during the interview process. There are, of course, many other questions you might get asked during the interview process but, these tend to be the ones that trip most people up.

Remember to take your time and thoroughly prepare for the interview. You don’t have to memorize your answers or anything but having a good idea of how you’d answer these questions will help you ace the next interview.

Here’s to being career advancement ready!

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Featured photo credit: Romain V via unsplash.com

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