**I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches. Each month, all members discuss a certain topic. This month, we are talking about “scary” career or resume mistakes. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective. You can also view the other member’s interesting posts at the end of the article.
Executive or senior level positions are a different animal when compared to others. More than a simple experience, those applying for senior or executive positions have to be better, faster and more creative than the competition. Even the smallest of errors can quickly become roadblocks to future success. Understanding how to avoid scary resume mistakes is critical for those that hope to land a plum position.
Luckily, the scariest of these mistakes are also the easiest to avoid…if you simply know what you are looking for.
Grammar: Sounds simple, but grammar and spelling errors can be the worst resume mistake. Poorly written resumes do not advertise the applicant as a qualified individual; instead, they advertise you as lazy, unobservant and possibly illiterate. This mistake is the easiest of all to avoid. Do not rely on spell check alone; instead ask a qualified friend or professional to review the resume for you as well.
Poorly written objectives/career summaries: The career summary portion of a resume is often easy to overlook. Job seekers erroneously assume that those reading the resumes often ignore the section. Instead, the summary is your first and best chance to not only state your objective, but to add a sense of whom you are. Avoiding a poorly written career summary starts with putting in the appropriate amount of time writing it. Remain clear and focused on what you want to do, what you excel at, and what you can do for the reader. It is also a good idea to personalize summaries for specific jobs or positions.
Hiding crucial information: Functional resumes sometimes seem like they are hiding information about the job seeker’s accomplishments and skill sets by ignoring the standard chronological format. If functional is still your choice, consider creating a hybrid functional/chronological resume that will please all types of readers.
Being too general: Creating a generalized resume to use for every new opportunity is a mistake. Today, a general resume isn’t enough. Instead, develop a well written, grammatically correct base resume and personalize it for each new position. Carefully tweaking skills, highlighting different accomplishments and other critical areas more maximum impact is the best way to optimize your exposure to specific potential employers.
Honest and Accuracy: “Everyone embellishes their resumes a little bit – right?” While that may be true for some people, inaccurate statements or outright wrong information is a mistake and not smart to do. Today’s employers are choosing from a pool of potential employees that is bigger than ever. Be sure that the information contained in your resume is accurate. Be honest and forthright in your answers. Honesty does matter. Don’t be one of the fools who use embellishment to make their resume stand out—and then get caught later.
Creating resumes that make an impact doesn’t have to be difficult. Spending adequate time, making use of a proofreader, being honest and carefully choosing your format and the information you present is the best way to avoid scary resume or career mistakes.
Read below for more resume and career advice from the Career Collective!
After talking with so many people, I know many of you work and work to create the perfect resume, only to look it over when you are finished and realize your resume doesn’t say, or reflect, just what you want it to. And often times, that keeps you from being called for interviews.
I’ve included a list of “deal breakers” that might hinder your chances for an interview: 1. Mizspelld Words or Bad Grammar
While spell-check is good, it doesn’t catch everything – there could be a word that’s spelled right, but not the right word for the context of the sentence. Keep that spell-check in action but don’t rely on it exclusively. Misspellings can be the death of your application, no matter how qualified you might be. Think of how embarrassing it would be if you have been a mechanical engineer for 30 years and spell it ‘michanical’ engineer on your resume. Lots of times we accidentally misspell words that are actually words themselves i.e. “manger” instead of “manager”.
There can be other consequences, as well–misspelled words could interfere with resumes being found in the key word search of a resume database. So, proofread your resume yourself – it’s important.
*Be sure to keep tenses consistent and check for the correct word usage (such as “counsel” versus “council”). 2. Using a Vague Job Focus
Be clear on the type of position you want to target – your resume should be geared toward that. If you just say “Medical Field” or “Manufacturing,” the reader does not know what type of position you want, so your resume will probably not be considered. Make sure you are specific as to the type of job you want, such as “Accounting Professional”, “Senior Management Executive”, or “Educator.” 3. Not Including your Personal Brand, or your Value
In today’s challenging job market, showing your uniqueness – your personal brand; and letting potential employers see the value you bring to a new position is essential. Your resume must reflect why an employer should pick up the phone and call you for an interview over the hundreds of other resumes sitting on their desk. You ultimately get hired for the value you contribute to a company, so make sure it shows on your resume. 4. Including your References on the Resume
YOU NO LONGER NEED TO ADD REFERENCES UPON REQUEST on your résumé. It is a given that you will bring a list of references to the interview. Only provide references when they are asked for. Never include them on your resume. It’s understood that if a company wants your references, you’ll provide them.
5. Adding Pictures to your Resume
This might sound like a good idea if you are good looking, but it can also work against you. Unless you are applying for a job as a model or actor, pictures on your résumé is not a good idea. 6. Making Reference to Political or Religious Organizations
A GIANT NO-NO!! Don’t scare off prospective employers by referring to your political or religious opinions or affiliations that do not directly relate to your ability to do the job. An employer might not agree with your politics or might feel that the workplace is nowhere to display attitudes that might alienate others. 7. Including your Salary Demands
This should not be put on the resume – it’s only used to screen a candidate out of the running or influence the employer to offer less money. Salary should not be discussed until you have had the opportunity to explain your value – in person or over the phone 8. Creating a Resume that’s Too Long
People do not have the time to go over resumes that state everything you ever did in your career. Edit your profile down to the most relevant experience for the job at hand. Employers often gauge whether an applicant can deliver information about themselves in a quick, clear and concise manner to sell themselves.
Your resume must be long enough to show your value, but not too long, or the reader will lose interest. 9. Using Incompatible File Types and Formats
Electronic resumes should be created in the most readable file for most [Internet-recruiting] systems, which is plain text or Microsoft Word.
Today’s resume needs to be readable by machines, which means text needs to have a font size between 10 – 12 and a simple font style, such as Arial, Verdana, Helvetica or Microsoft SansSerif. 10. Stick to the Truth
We’ve seen what happen with CEO’s who embellish on their résumés. If you lie on your resume, you will have to defend yourself and your résumé in an interview. Employers also do background and even credit checks, and inaccurate info could come back to haunt you. Plus a few more…!
11. Don’t Put your Reasons for Leaving on the Résumé
Save this for the interview. It doesn’t need to be on the résumé. 12. DO NOT Make Changes to the Résumé in Pencil or Pen
Add it to the document on your computer, not jotting it down or crossing something else out. This is never acceptable on a résumé. 13. NEVER send a résumé without a cover letter!
You must always have a cover letter. It states your intention to the reader. It’s expected and is important in job search etiquette. This is a powerful tool that can give you the competitive edge.