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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

More by this author

Robert Locke

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

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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