By the time you finish reading this paragraph, a recruiter has completely reviewed a resume. This means that in most cases, your resume is reviewed for a mere 30 seconds—not a lot of time for someone to realize how great you are, huh? This is why it’s important for your resume to be a strong, polished representation of yourself. An interview is the stepping stone to getting a job; to increase your chances of landing an interview, don’t do the following:
1. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes: Your GPA might be high enough to make Einstein jealous, but even one misspelled word leaves a bad impression and can ultimately cost you a job. Spelling words incorrectly (especially company names), is careless and unprofessional. Would you trust someone who overlooked simple, yet significant details? I wouldn’t either. Proofread, proofread, and proofread again.
2. Fancy Fonts: I know you love the font “Lucida Handwriting,” but the person reviewing your resume couldn’t care less about it. Stick with easy-to-read fonts that facilitate the reviewer’s understanding of who you are and why you would serve as an asset for their company or organization.
3. Irrelevant Personal Hobbies: Listing random hobbies on your resume ends in high school. Truth be told, employers aren’t really interested in the fact that you love knitting. Plus, you never know what hobby of yours might turn off an employer. Focus your resume more on accomplishments, honors, and publications—things that distinguish you from other applicants.
4. Areas of Question: The last thing you want to do is leave an employer guessing. If an employer is left wondering when you worked at a certain job or why there is a gap in your employment, you’ve already started off on the wrong foot. All of the information you include on your resume should be complete and factual.
5. Generic Templates: Applications like Microsoft Word come with various resume templates. Fun stuff, right? Not necessarily. Why? Because you and 1,000 other applicants end up using templates that are almost identical. So, make your resume stand out! This doesn’t mean use crazy fonts or a multicolored confetti background; create your own template and maybe add a little color (no, not hot pink—try something professional like navy blue) to your headings, borders, etc.
6. Weak Adjectives/Vague Duties: It’s no one’s job but your own to make sure an employer sees exactly why you are the most qualified applicant for a position. The fact that you “helped sell merchandise” is cool, but what does it really say about what you are capable of? Something like “managed a team of 15 people and increased merchandise sales by 35%” demonstrates measurable results—employers love this; they want to see the actual value of your contributions at a job.
To summarize in a few words: be concise, but also thorough, professional, and unique— it pays off in the end!