Do you know what’ll get your resume tossed into the trash faster than anything? Making one of these resume mistakes. You see, hiring managers see a lot of resumes. They are trained to spot red flags. They may not know why they don’t trust you or if you’re just another desperate candidate, but they can tell based on how you present yourself. Unfortunately, job seekers who are unqualified or untrusted make all sorts of silly mistakes that give hiring managers pause. To avoid being one of them and having your resume thrown in the trash, here are 7 common resume faux pas to avoid:
The two most common formatting blunders are incorrect margins and improper font. Resumes are supposed to be one page long, but many people take one or two pages anyway. The standard rule is to have one inch margins on all sides. Some people use 12 point font while others use 10. Stay within these parameters to avoid being docked for formatting errors. As far as font is concerned, avoid any fancy cursive or font styles. Stick to Calibri or Times New Roman — two fonts that look professional and are easy on the eyes. If you use a resume template, it’s easier to avoid these mistakes. Otherwise, be extra careful and double check your formatting to make sure everything is correct.
Irrelevant Job Experience
Let’s say you were fired from your last job. You had one incident where you got into a heated argument with a coworker. You were fired. You don’t want to put the incident on your resume, but you also don’t want to leave off the job entirely. What do you do? People who don’t have much work experience or have gaps in employment often have this problem. But it can happen to anyone. A lot of people put something on their resume even though they know it’s not relevant to the job they’re applying for. If you were fired or laid off, or if you left a job due to a personality conflict, you don’t have to put it on there. If you were making minimum wage at a cafe and want to become an accountant, you don’t have to put it.
There are a few things that you should always get correct. Your name and contact information are essential. They are the first things a hiring manager will look for. If you get them wrong, it’s an immediate fail. If you change your name or contact information, make sure to update your resume. If you have an address change, do the same. It’s also important to make sure your education is accurate. If you have a degree, make sure it’s listed correctly. If it’s from a school that’s no longer accredited, you can be removed from the hiring pool. If you have a degree in a field unrelated to the job you’re applying for, don’t list it.
If you’re applying for a job as a data entry clerk and you’ve got a ton of extra language on your resume like “dynamic, multi-tasking, and results-driven,” you’re probably overdoing it. If you’re applying for a job as a senior marketing manager, you probably don’t need to put those words on your resume. Many people make the mistake of putting too much flourish on their resumes. They get creative with fonts, bolding, underlining, and italics, but end up looking tacky and overblown. If you’re applying for a creative position, by all means, use some flair. But if your resume is too silly to read, hiring managers will likely toss it. Keep it simple, straightforward, and professional.
Unprofessional Language and Behavior
Don’t put anything on your resume that would make you blush if your mom or grandma read it. This includes things like excessive cursing, sexual innuendo, foul language, and excessive teasing or joking around. All of these things may seem like they’re “part of the culture” in your industry, but they won’t be tolerated if you’re applying to a new job. If you have a problem with a coworker, supervisor, or vendor, don’t put it on your resume. It will come back to haunt you. If you were fired from a job for being “too friendly,” don’t put it on your resume either.
If your resume doesn’t have all of the information hiring managers want, it’s incomplete. This is fine if you’re switching careers and don’t have as much experience, but in most cases, it’s a resume faux pas. If you’ve had a lot of jobs, you should list all of them, but you don’t have to put the dates if you’ve only been in the workforce for a short while. If you’ve been in the workforce for decades and have been promoted, you should list what you were doing before your latest job. Incomplete resumes are often incomplete because people don’t know what to put or they’re trying to hide something. Make sure you have everything you need on there.
Reliance on Automated Application Process
A lot of companies now use an automated application process (AAP). This is where you fill out a questionnaire and apply to jobs through a website. It’s a great way to get your information in front of a lot of people quickly, but it’s also an easy way to make huge mistakes. Dating yourself, bragging about how great you are, or putting information in all caps (which is a sign of anger and aggression) are mistakes you’d make in a written application. If you’re applying to a lot of jobs with the same information, make sure you proofread it carefully. When it comes to automated applications, don’t talk yourself up too much. Pretend you’re applying to a job at McDonald’s and you don’t want to come off too brash.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so you want to make sure you don’t mess it up. While hiring managers are looking for skills and experience, they are also making sure that you are a person they want to work with. These tips can help you present yourself professionally and make a good first impression. Resumes are one of the first ways employers find out about you and if you make one of these mistakes, it could be a big reason why you don’t get the job you want.