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23 Resume mistakes that will land you on a recruiter’s naughty list

By Courtney Jones

They may not see you when you’re sleeping, or know when you’re awake (….cause creepy), but they do know when you’re resume is bad or good, so make it good for goodness sake!

With recruiters spending an average of 3-7 seconds glancing at your resume before deciding whether to read on or move on, you may want to avoid making these common resume mistakes so you could get the best present of all this holiday season: a job in the New Year.

  1. Lack of contact details

Double check that your phone number(s) and postal code are included and up-to-date. You can’t be reached if you can’t be found!

  1. No postal code

If your postal code isn’t listed, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) recruiters use to find resumes won’t find yours. It’s called a radial search.

  1. Lack of keywords

Your resume should contain keywords that match the job description you’re applying for. Along with your postal code, it’s how an ATS will find you.

  1. Fancy formatting

Leave grids, charts and boxes off your resume. An ATS won’t read them and a recruiter will have to reformat (if by chance your resume is found through a second round of pooling).

  1. Inconsistent fonts

Stick to a single font. Use one font size for a headline and one for the rest of your resume.

  1. Different colours

Your resume is not a rainbow, so stick to the black and white basics.

  1. Failure to take advice

A recruiter knows what his or her Client is looking for. If you receive constructive criticism, implement the advice to get a head of the competition.

  1. Lying

Every resume you submit to a staffing firm is kept on file. Forever. The inconsistencies will be noticed, so be honest.

  1. It’s vague

Recruiters want to know what you’ve done, how you did it and what the results were. Can you quantify them?

  1. Spelling errors and bad grammar

After you’ve double checked for spelling, grammar and punctuation, have someone else you trust look it over as well.

  1. Unnecessary capitalization

Proper nouns and organizations receive capital letters. If you choose to capitalize your job titles, make sure it’s consistent throughout the entire document.

  1. Listing a marital status

Being a mother of three is great, and it may contribute to your multi-tasking skills, but a resume isn’t the place to highlight these accomplishments.

  1. TMI

Find the balance between personalizing a resume and too much information. Only list hobbies and interests that pertain to the job description.

  1. Lack of technical skills

When you include technical skills in the summary, make sure they’re also listed in the body as well.

  1. Copy and pasting

Pssst! Recruiters read the same job descriptions as you do, so when you copy and paste the desired skills listed in the description onto your CV, they can tell.

  1. Unqualified candidates

Transferable skills are great and are always taken into consideration, but a Candidate with intermediate-level experience, shouldn’t apply for a vice president position.

  1. Photos

Unless you’re applying for a modeling gig, leave the selfies off the resume.

  1. Contact details only listed in the header

You should list your name, phone number and email at the bottom of each page in the event that one is misplaced.

  1. PDF versions

Sending your resume in a PDF format means that a recruiter has to ask you for another version (and then wait for that other version) to make any changes or remove contact details before submitting to a Client.

  1. Missing months

Always list the number of months against the number of years you were with a company.

  1. Missing company names

If you’ve worked for them, work their name into your resume.

  1. Too wordy

If you can’t list your professional skills and experience in 3-6 pages, you’re being too wordy.

  1. Proficiency implications

A recruiter doesn’t have time to read between the lines based on your previous positions. List all of your proficiencies clearly.


by Courtney Jones

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