Common Mistakes in Writing a Resume

Almost every professional has had to write a resume at some point in time in his or her career. The key to writing resumes is to ensure that you do not make the mistakes that many others make, in order to stand out from your competition.

One mistake that some people make is not having that polished look by putting together a good format and proofreading the resume. Appearance is everything in a resume, so if your resume looks sloppy and is full of grammatical and spelling errors, you will not be considered for the job. It is recommended that you use Times New Roman Script in a 12 point font, with a one inch margin around the document. Run the resume through a spell checker, and have someone you trust read it to ensure that everything makes sense and that you do not repeat the same words over and over. The tense should also be consistent, i.e., past, or present tense. You should also use professional paper and envelopes. The accepted style of a resume will change over time, so you should research what employers are looking for each time you put together a resume. That is, the resume format that you learned in school twenty years ago may not be relevant in today’s marketplace.

Another mistake is failing to include a cover letter. Every resume should have one of these, which is specific to the job that you are applying for at that company. This letter must capture the employer’s attention and make this person want to bring you in for an interview. Cover letters should contain a salutation to the person who can hire you. You should do your research here by calling the company to find out the person’s name so you can direct the letter to the correct person. The opening of the letter is essential to appeal to the reader, and this is done through researching things about the company and including them in the letter. Next, include a few facts about your qualifications, and how your skills would help the business. Finally, it is important that you close out the letter requesting an interview.

Many employers do not make it past the objective statement in a resume because most people make the mistake of writing what they want, rather than how they can help the business. This is an outdated way of formatting resumes. Today, employers prefer to see a profile or summary section that is employer centered. You should detail what you are offering to the business instead of listing a blanket statement of what you are looking for out of a job. This statement should be specific and include why choosing you will benefit the employer over choosing someone else. What do you have to offer that other candidates don’t? It is important to give specific accomplishments from previous employment.

Most people also make the mistake of going in way too much detail. You should highlight specific achievements and results instead of listing all of your job responsibilities in a previous employment. Just because a person is responsible for something in the scope of the job does not mean that that person accomplished these responsibilities. Employers want to see what type of results they can expect from the applicant.

Many job applicants also go way too far back in history on their resume and include too much personal information. You do not need to list every job that you have ever held. For most people, listing the past 10-15 years is sufficient, as long as the employment is relevant to the current job for which you are applying. It is important also, when you list the past 10-15 years, to not have any gaps in employment history. Explain what you have done for this entire span of time.

Writing a resume can be stressful. However, if you avoid the common mistakes of writing a resume that are outlined above, you are more likely to get your foot in the door and get an interview. They key to writing good resumes is to capture the employer’s attention through a well-researched cover letter, correctly format your resume so that it includes specific achievements and results, and finally, make it look professional.


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