Creating a great resume can be difficult. Sometimes it’s hard to think about your accomplishments, achievements, and all the things that make you great at your job.
The key to a great resume is to focus on exactly that: what makes you special. But in addition to selling yourself in the most advantageous way, it’s also important to focus on the little details that, if overlooked, could spell disaster for your job search.
Here are 5 mistakes you don’t want to make when writing a resume:
Not describing your accomplishments
When you sit down to write your resume it’s a good idea to use your job description as a guideline and only as a guideline. You spend your day doing your job and sometimes the job description is just a broad outline of the tasks you really perform. So, make sure that you don’t simply list the duties that are written in your job description. Focus on accomplishments such as the promotions you earned, money you have saved the company, projects completed on time and under budget, and anything you do that can be quantified or measured.
Make your resume easy to read and understand. In a competitive environment recruiters don’t need to work hard to figure out who your last two employers were or your dates of employment. Make sure that the resume format you use is consistent and easy to read. The names of your employers, dates, job titles, and locations should all be in a consistent place on the page throughout the resume.
Time gaps and missing dates
Make sure that you account for any apparent time gaps on your resume and include dates for all education and employment. Make it easy for recruiters to understand where you have spent your time and include your dates of employment, the year you graduated from college, and the dates at which you worked for each employer. With that said if you have 20 or more years of experience you don’t have to include your college work-study jobs or your first analyst job right out of college. But, it’s important to account for your time. If you were unemployed for a few years because you stayed home to raise children its ok to mention that on your resume. Make sure that recruiters don’t have to guess how you have been spending your time because many recruiters will disqualify a resume that isn’t easy to understand.
Misspelling and grammatical errors
Spelling and grammatical errors on your resume send a message to recruiters that you were sloppy in your preparation and that you don’t want the job badly. While that may not seem fair, it is a reality that most hiring managers react poorly to finding spelling errors on a resume or in a cover letter. Spelling and grammatical errors make your application for employment an easy “no” for a recruiter or hiring manager. Most word processing software includes a spell check function. Make sure that you use spell check and, if possible, also ask a friend to review your resume to see if there are any errors that you or the computer missed. Be accurate with your spelling or you may be out of luck with your job search.
Too much or too little information
When describing your work experience you should make sure that your explanation isn’t so brief that the depth of your experience doesn’t shine through. But also make sure that you don’t turn your career into the great American novel. Explain what you have done focusing on results and achievements. Don’t be repetitive or over-explain. As a general rule of thumb, if your resume exceeds 2 pages, re-evaluate the amount of information you included. There are cases in which a resume in excess of two pages is appropriate but most people find two pages to be plenty of room in which to describe what they have accomplished.
This article was written by Liz Handlin, CEO, Ultimate Resumes. Get more information and useful resources at Ultimate-Resumes.com.