Key resume mistakes
A solid resume is what gets you in the door and in front of hiring managers when you're applying for jobs. That's why it's so important to make sure your application is free of mistakes, and that means more than just typos.
Business News Daily spoke with hiring and HR experts to help you clean up some common resume errors so you can land that interview.
Including an objective
An "objective" at the top of your resume is outdated and should be eliminated. This section tells an employer or recruiter what you want, rather than what you can do for them, said Marissa Letendre, senior recruiter at Zimmerman Associates recruiting firm.
"It should be replaced with a paragraph-style summary which communicates what [the candidate] can do for the employer and achievements relevant to the position they are applying for," Letendre added.
Making it too obvious
"I constantly see candidates listing obvious duties in bullet points under a job title," said Yahya Mokhtarzada CEO of Truebill, which provides a tool for organizing subscription services. "If an applicant was a host at TGI Fridays for three years, I can assume they undertook common host/hostess duties such as greeting guests and seating them at tables."
Mokhtarzada suggested using the bullet-point space to list things you've done that an employer wouldn't guess or to illustrate instances when you went above and beyond.
Providing outdated contact information
Justine Miller, HR consultant at The Stir Group, reminded job seekers not to overlook the contact information listed on their resumes.
"When looking for a new job, it's easy to use a saved copy of your resume," Miller said. "You might have a new cellphone number or [might] have changed your email address since you last used your resume."
Using poor formatting
Submitting a resume in a format other than PDF could hurt your chances of getting seen.
"You can spend hours formatting a resume, but if you submit a Word document, the resume will [often] be reformatted by whatever applicant-tracking system the company uses," said Joshua Goldstein, co-founder at Underdog.io. "It doesn't sound like a big deal, but imagine submitting a one-page resume that was properly formatted, only to have a company receive three pages with paragraph-sized blank chunks, and sentences that start in the middle of the page."
If you do choose to send a Word document, be sure to double-check everything, especially if you've tracked your edits.
"Believe it or not, candidates leave 'track changes' on," Samantha Lambert, director of human resources at Blue Fountain Media, said. "Always do one last double check before sending along. This seemingly trivial mistake can make it quite difficult for hiring managers to take you seriously."
Lying (about anything)
A white lie on your resume may seem innocent, and you might even think you need to fib in order to get in front of a hiring manager, said Candice Trebus, marketing manager at Akraya, an IT staffing firm. However, she noted that background and reference checks will always uncover skeletons in the closet.
Outdated experience that is no longer relevant may not be an outright lie, but it does detract from your credibility. Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com, said that outdated skills make a candidate appear not to be genuine.
"Irrelevant work experience only shows that the candidate had a job in the past while showing nothing about what they can offer to a company," Case said. "If [your resume] states you are fluent in a language and you are asked about it, then admitting it has been quite some time since you spoke fluently never looks good."
Including (inappropriate) photos
Although the norm in the U.S. is not to include a photo of yourself on your resume (since you typically include your LinkedIn profile), there are some countries and specific industries where a resume head-shot is standard. If you do decide to include a photo, make sure it's an appropriate, professional one.
Jason Roberts, a senior HR and marketing expert at My Handyman Services, noted that his company often receives photos of candidates in which the subjects present themselves in a less-than-professional light. This makes it difficult to take these applicants seriously, he said.
"We don't have any issues with [photos, but] we keep receiving photos of guys with party hats, wearing shades, holding beers and even cigarettes," Roberts said.
Duncan Murtagh, co-founder of Vetter, a virtual employee-suggestion box, said job seekers often write their resumes in a passive rather than active voice.
"They treat their resumes like applications you'd fill out at an entry-level position for high schoolers and simply list previous experience duties," Murtagh said.
Instead of a bland, bulleted list of duties, show results: Hiring managers like to see concrete, quantifiable data of your accomplishments.
Bad-mouthing an employer
Although you may be fed up with your current employer, your job application is not the place to disparage the company, said Barry Maher, a speaker and consultant.
"Never even hint of having a bad attitude about [a previous employer]," Maher said. "If necessary, and only when it is necessary, the place to explain a potential negative employer reference is in the interview."
Making it too long
Your resume should never be longer than necessary. A multipage resume works if you're at the senior level and have a long, varied work history, but if you apply for a lower-level role and have only had a couple of jobs in the same industry, there's no reason it shouldn't all fit on one page, said Sasha Surman, hiring manager at LiftForward, Inc.
Working with formatting can bring it down to one page, as well, Shannon Plush, coordinator of strategic HR projects for Pittsburgh Public Schools, told Business News Daily.
"Tighten up your language and adjust your formatting so that your resume content can fit on one page," Plush added. "Otherwise, it looks sloppy and highlights for the employer that you don't have enough to offer to fill up two pages."