Are you ready to send out your resume for the dream job you’ve always wanted? Before you do, know that there are two common mistakes that kill a candidate’s chances before he/she can even interview. Avoiding these pitfalls means the difference between having your resume tossed in the garbage, or it being placed in the follow-up pile.
Mistake 1 – Typos, Grammatical Errors and Other Inconsistencies
A 2013 Career Builder Survey found that 58% of all resumes have typos. It seems silly that such small mistakes are so common, but they can kill your chances with a recruitment or HR manager.
The best way to catch and fix errors is to have the resume read by someone else. Ask the person to highlight any errors and to give you honest feedback. Of course, there are steps you can take to identify and eliminate these errors yourself:-
- Proofread it in a quiet place, away from all distractions.
- Take it slow and try not to skim over words.
- Don’t just read it on the computer, print it out and read it again.
- Read it aloud. This way, you can hear any grammar errors or problems with flow.
“People who tweak their resumes the most carefully can be especially vulnerable to this kind of error,” explains Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, “because they often result from going back again and again to fine tune your resume just one last time. And in doing so, a subject and verb suddenly don’t match up, or a period is left in the wrong place, or a set of dates gets knocked out of alignment.”
Mistake 2 – Formatting
Your resume is not the place to be experimenting with fancy fonts or ‘creative’ formatting. For it to be effective, your resume needs to be consistent in its font, bullet point style, and date formats.
Bock suggests it’s better to opt for a simple, traditional resume with consistent formatting, instead of creating something that is potentially tough to read.
“Unless you’re applying for a job such as a designer or artist, your focus should be on making your resume clean and legible,” Bock writes.
Use your white space wisely; especially in between paragraphs and in the margins. If you’re planning to put in employer names in bold or italics, then this must be done throughout the document. A different font for all the headings might seem interesting, but there’s little practical use for it.
A resume crammed with blocks of text is very difficult to read and will work against you. Anything in excess must be avoided, be it italics, bolding or underlining.
Quick tip—Saving the resume as a PDF rather than a .doc file, helps to get rid of formatting issues between different programs.
Recruiters go through hundreds of resumes in a day. If they see typos, bad grammar, or formatting errors, they may conclude that the applicant didn’t care enough about the posting to proofread the document. They might also assume that the applicant is not intelligent enough to understand that these are mistakes. In either case, goodbye job opportunity.
Remember, these are easy fixes. Don’t let small errors stop you from your dream career.