Like many things in life, résumé-writing is something that’s easy to do but hard to master. While a great résumé may earn you a callback from a recruiter or hiring manager, one loaded with errors will surely sink your chances of landing a dream job. With that in mind, here are five of the biggest (and most common) mistakes that find their way into folks’ CVs:
Although space is at a premium when it comes to résumé-writing—you should always do your best to compress your experience into a page, if possible—you do yourself no favors by rendering your accomplishments too unclear or ill-defined. You should never say, for example, that you just “built software” for a particular company. Instead, spend a couple words explaining what exactly you did: “Built a mobile app that led to substantial revenue increases,” for example. Which leads us to the next point:
Didn’t Show Impact
A lot of résumés dump a lot of information onto the page. When you do that, you risk the recruiter or hiring manger skimming and discarding your materials; they often don’t have time to pick through every line, trying to determine what’s important and what’s not. Help them out by narrowing down your accomplishments to those that had the most impact on your organization, and explaining that impact. Did your projects lead to increases in efficiency and revenue? Did you launch something that ranked highly in an app store? Be sure to highlight your effectiveness.
Getting Squiggly with the Truth
Job candidates know they’re facing a crowded marketplace, and that leads to a temptation to exaggerate key details on their résumés. When writing your own materials, keep everything as straightforward and honest as possible: recruiters do their own research in addition to reading résumés, and chances are good they’ll figure out the truth behind any overstatements. And even if your inflated résumé gets you through the hiring process, your new colleagues may discover that you’re not everything you said on paper.
It’s a fact of life that companies and recruiters rely on keywords and specialized software in order to isolate résumés from the pile. Make sure you use the keywords associated with a particular job; it will increase your visibility. (At the same time, however, make sure your résumé isn’t a mish-mash of buzzwords; that may end up harming your chances.)
Trying to Be Funny
Humor has its place in professional life. But it doesn’t belong on your résumé. Save the cute phrases, puns, and in-jokes for your social-networking profiles.