If you’re writing a resumé, make sure to avoid the following mistakes:
• Use of abbreviations
Avoid abbreviations! They are unprofessional and not universally accepted. Nothing looks worse on a résumé than seeing sentences like: “Duties included answering the fone and going 2 c clients.” This is a résumé, not a text message.
• Too much personal
Leave off anything related to hobbies or personal interests. If it doesn’t relate to employment, it doesn’t belong on a resumé. Information such as weight and height is irrelevant—unless you’re trying out for a basketball team.
• Distracting graphics
People feel that in order to be noticed, they need their résumé to look like a piece of artwork. This appears unprofessional. At the end of the day, the employer only wants to see your skills, duties and achievements. He or she is not interested in you because your resumé is shaded yellow and has a butterfly in the corner.
• Being negative
Never, never, never be negative on your résumé or cover letter (and most importantly, in your interview). If you left your previous job because you hated your boss, keep it to yourself. Do not try to explain this on your resumé. Remember, a resumé’s job is to promote and sell. Do not get eliminated immediately for being negative.
• Forgetting dates
Include dates on your resumé. Don’t make your reader have to guess! What years did you go to high school? When did you graduate? How long have you worked at your current job? If you took a year off to go traveling, include this.
• Lack of achievements
Most people who apply for the same job can all do the standard day-to-day duties. So what separates the good resumé from the bad resumé? A good one includes achievements and highlights. It shows how you were an asset at your previous job. Employers want to not only see that you just worked and did a good job, but that you added value to the company.
• Irrelevant information
Everyone is proud of achievements they have accomplished throughout their life. But is it relevant to include on your resumé? Use common sense when including extra information. Receiving your CPR certification is relevant when you’re applying to be a lifeguard. It isn’t so relevant if you’re going for a job as a CEO.
• Grammar mistakes and typos
When an employer has 100 resumés, the first 20 are eliminated because of grammar mistakes or typos. These mistakes are glaringly obvious on a resumé. Proofread your resumé, and ask someone else to read it over, too.
• Trying to sound too clever
You may think that using words such as “meticulous,” “scrupulous” or “industrious” to describe yourself may make you sound smart. Unfortunately, they can have the opposite effect. Your resumé is a representation of you. Don’t forget this!
Gavin Redelman is the founder of Red Star Resumé, which provides résumé and cover letter writing services for students, graduates and young professionals.