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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 October 8, 2019

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Define What Success Is for You

There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

7. Pick Up Some New Skills

Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

10. Get Off the Fence

People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

18. Join a Professional Organization

The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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