Four Common Mistakes that Put Your Resume in the Pass Pile

We know how daunting looking for a job can be – online searches, networking events, word of mouth – you’re off to a good start and doing all the right things.  Before you know it, you’ve found a great prospect and now comes the time to click ‘send’ and submit your resume.  But before you do, could it use a little polish?  Looking for a few tips that might help make that prospective employer pick up the phone to schedule an interview? Haley, a recruiter from HajocaCareers is here to help you look for pitfalls to avoid and tips for keeping your resume from ending up in a recruiter’s ‘pass’ pile.

  1. Submitting a generic resume – A key aspect to moving forward to the interview portion of the candidate process is putting your best foot forward. Think of your resume as your calling card – a simplified, streamlined version of yourself on paper.  If you were in person, you’d be thoughtful about how you presented yourself, right? Your resume should be approached the same way.  Read through the job description, highlighting key phrases or job responsibilities that hit home with experiences you’ve had.  Then write your job history to focus in on those phases or responsibilities.
  1. Spelling, grammar and formatting errors – Spelling, grammar and formatting errors speak louder than content every time. From the eyes of the recruiter, these errors say that you didn’t feel your resume was an important enough document to proofread.  When evaluating hundreds of resumes, that alludes to a candidate’s attention to detail and thoroughness.  I think we can all agree that those two qualities are pretty universally desired by most employers.  Be sure to always have someone proofread your resume (and cover letter!) before submitting it for any position, not matter how big or small.  You can never take back that first impression, so be sure it’s a good one.
  1. Omitting your contact information – Often companies or job boards ask you to fill out an online form when applying for a position that asks for your name, address, phone number and email address. Don’t mistake that for not needing to also have it at the top of your resume.  Recruiters often pass along resumes to hiring managers and others within the organization who may be interested in speaking to you – don’t give them a single opportunity to second guess that decision – include your contact information. On a similar note, place this information at the top of your resume, front and center.
  1. Taking creative license with font, color, graphics, etc. – More often than not, recruiters have hundreds of resumes coming across their desk each week for a finite number of positions. While you may think, “I’m going to do whatever I can to stand out”, consider this cautionary advice – differing your resume from a general format too dramatically might be a turn off in a more traditional work environment. Keep in mind this advice is job specific – if you’re applying for a position as a graphic designer, using your resume as a way to not only talk about but also display your skills could be a benefit.  Moral of the story – think about your resume formatting in the context of the job and company in which you’re applying, and decide what is most appropriate.

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