If you ask some people, resume mistakes aren’t that big of a deal. (In fact, would you believe that another resume writer said that to me with a straight face? Well, we were on the phone, so it sounded like a straight face, okay? 😂) But the truth is that hiring managers and recruiters are looking for any reason to toss a resume. They have hundreds of resumes to review before deciding on only a few to be interview-worthy. And trust me when I tell you that some of those reasons are quite arbitrary.
If you are looking at avoiding the “resume landmines” that can blow up your candidacy from the beginning, take note of these 4 common mistakes – and avoid making them! ☠
📝 Resume Mistakes #1: Spelling Errors
Right out the gate, multiple spelling errors tell your reader that the job search process isn’t important enough to you to sweat the details. A resume littered with spelling faux pas presents you as unprofessional and lacking attention to detail. A document with this much riding on it should be proofed not once, but twice to ensure it represents you the right way. And if you are seeking a role where writing is a critical qualification, you can 100% forget getting a callback if it isn’t perfect.
📝 Resume Mistakes #2: Absence of White Space
This is a miscalculation made by those who think “saying everything” is more important than their reader’s comfort level. White space allows your reader’s eye to rest – an important thing for someone who perhaps has reviewed 88 resumes before yours – with 75 more to go . If that resume is too densely packed, our reader may not even bother. It could be too intimidating to take on.
Whitespace is THE fundamental building block of good design. It can be used to strategically lead a reader from one element to another. Too little whitespace can lead to confusion for your reader – especially one who is weary-eyed and low on ability to concentrate. So look for chances to use both micro and macro whitespace to make life easy on that hiring manager you wish to impress.
📝 Resume Mistakes #3: Including Photo on US/Canadian Submissions
You should not put a picture on a resume in the US, UK, or Canada. Do not submit a resume with a picture as these countries are bias-conscious. Employers with the priority to avoid discrimination lawsuits will toss resumes with photos as a policy. Many hiring managers even consider it unprofessional.
It is perfectly understandable to want to customize your resume offering with a headshot, but it is likely to distract from your skills and experience. Remember, you only have 7.4 seconds to “make the sale” in the initial pass. Let’s not distract our reader during this time.
By the way, images are not ATS-friendly. As such, there is a chance that your photo will confuse the ATS bot and cause a failure in the upload. And you know what that means, right? #tossed
Of course certain careers are exceptions. For example, resumes of fashion models and actors/actresses are required to include a photo. But the reasons for that are pretty obvious.
📝 Resume Mistakes #4: Unnecessarily Exceeding 2 Pages
As a resume writer, there is something I have learned over time. If you need more than 2 pages to encapsulate your qualifications, you’re not doing it right. For most of us, 2 pages is plenty of real estate to present our best selves to decision makers. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but it is just that – an exception.
A good resume is not supposed to be a life story or laundry list of every moment of your storied career. It provides the reader with the heavy-hitter information that prompts them to want to learn more. After all, we do want those hiring managers intrigued enough to call you in to learn more, right?
But content isn’t the only culprit when it comes to longer-than-necessary resumes. Correcting issues with resume layout, font choice, phrasing efficiency, and spacing can go a long way in resolving these issues without core context being removed.
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It is hard enough to make the interview list with the perfect document. How hard? If 250 people apply and only 15 get interviewed, your resume has to impress in the 94th percentile. Don’t waste good resume writing strategy, content, and design by ignoring the details.
By the way, if any resume writer ever tells you errors are okay (as one had the nerve to tell me one day) – – – RUN!!! 🏃♂️💨