You’ve got the basic concept of a resume down. You’ve figured out the ins and outs of formatting and what to include. Do you still have questions or are you looking for more resume tips? Let’s take a look at some common resume mistakes and how to avoid them. The resume strategies below will help you craft a resume that’s compelling, concise, and useful.
Some people, especially new grads or people re-entering the workforce, may prefer to have a professional write their resume. However, if you’re choosing to use their services, be sure they’re certified as resume writers or career coaches, and ask for samples before hiring them.
If the idea of hiring someone is cost-prohibitive or just not your preference, we’ve got you covered with plenty of tips and resume samples to learn from.
9 Essential Pointers
There’s an overwhelming amount of resume tips out there, and it can be hard to digest it all into something useful. Below, we’ve summarized ten of the most useful resume strategies:
1. Tailor individual resumes to the specific job being applied for
If you have just one resume that you send to every job posting, you’re making one of the most common errors. It’s fine to have a general outline, but tweak it each time to include keywords from the job description and highlight the most relevant experience.
2. List the most relevant experience and achievements
As a new grad, you may have experience listed on your resume that’s not necessarily part of your field – a high school job or something to pay the bills. As you gain more experience, drop those off your resume and focus on the more relevant jobs.
3. Keep your resume updated
On a similar note, be sure you regularly update your resume with your most recent jobs and achievements. Try to update every six months.
4. Match your resume to a company’s stated goals
When applying to a company, do a little homework on their culture and goals, and tweak your wording and your listed achievements to subtly show that you’re in line with that mission.
5. Search for yourself online
See what the results are when you search your name. It might be a blog post, some social media, something related to your school, or more. If it might reflect poorly on you, see if you can take it down.
6. Clean up your social media
It’s a fact of the modern world: hiring managers may check out your social media. Delete posts that are immature or inappropriate, and start a habit of posting neutral or professional content on a semi-regular basis.
7. Tighten your privacy settings
While it’s not a full guarantee of privacy, it never hurts to restrict who can see your posts on social media. Consider limiting who can see your posts – just remember that nothing is ever truly private online!
8. Get a second opinion
Whether you’re the top of your class or have always struggled with writing, it doesn’t matter: everyone needs a second set of eyes on their resume. We often miss things in our own writing that others will catch.
9. Email your resume to yourself first
This one might sound weird, but occasionally, email can mess up your carefully constructed formatting. Sending it to yourself first allows you to run one last check!
Okay, so we’ve covered the “do”s – how about the “don’t”s?
Top Five Resume Mistakes
While hiring managers aren’t seeking perfection, there are certain mistakes that will send up red flags before they’ve even finished reading your materials. Here’s what to avoid:
1. Outdated contact information
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s also easy to overlook. Make absolutely certain that your phone number and email address are correct, updated, and free from typos so a manager can contact you!
2. An unprofessional email address
While a cutesy or jokey email address was funny when you were thirteen, it’s not going to look great in the professional world. Additionally, it might land your email in the spam folder! Use a simple email address, based on some version of your name, from a major email provider.
3. Atypical paper or ink
Just because a pink resume gets someone a job in the movies doesn’t mean you should do it. Multicolored ink or paper may be interpreted as a lack of knowledge (or care) of professional norms and should be avoided to be on the safe side.
4. Not being a good match
It’s one thing to apply for a job when you don’t match all the qualifications – many successful candidates do! If you’re truly not a match for the job requirements when you’re honest with yourself, it’s probably best to look for a different job posting. Remember that jobs are a two-way street: companies want to find employees that will fit well into their needs, and workers want to find a company that will provide them with the opportunities they need too.
5. Hiring a bad resume writer
There’s nothing wrong with getting professional help on your resume, but always ask for samples and references so that you don’t find yourself shelling out for a resume that hurts you more than it helps.
With these tips and tricks, you can be confident that you’re writing a resume that showcases you as an excellent candidate. Happy job hunting!