The Ugly Resume: Top 5 Most Common Resume Killers

Common Job Application MistakesWhen you are applying for a job, a recruiter will take about 20 to 30 seconds, max, to skim your resume. In this 20- to 30-second second span of time, the recruiter will decide if they should place your resume in the call or recycle list.

Because so many candidates are applying for the same job, it is extremely important to design your resume right and to avoid some of the common resume killers that will affect your reputation before you even meet with a hiring manager.

Here are 5 of the most common resume killers you must avoid so you can land the interview.

1. The Wordy Mission Statement

No recruiter wants to see a large blob of text under the mission statement heading. If you want to avoid being added to the do-not-call file, make sure that you explain how you can benefit the company with your skills and experience in a succinct, clear way. Step back and look at your resume from a distance. Ask yourself if you would read it if you were the hiring manager. If not, do some revising.

2. The Generic Resume

One of the worst things you can do is build a single resume for every company you are applying for, even if you are applying for the same position. The best way to get attention is to review a job description and to recycle some of the words the HR department has used in the listing to show that the resume is tailored to the specific job. You may want to adjust the skills you list based on what’s required for the position, as long as you have the skills the job requires. Using a generic resume is a quick way to reach the bottom of the list even if you are a qualified applicant.

3. Failing to Construct a Cover Letter

It might take more time to write a cover letter, but many recruiters will not even look at a resume if there isn’t one. Your cover letter completes your entire resume package. It includes highlights of your career, a bit about your background, how you heard about the open position you are applying for, and how you can meet the needs of the company. Remember to be succinct and specific, tailoring each cover letter to skills required for the job.

Related: How to Write a Cover Letter That Works »

4. Failing to Send Your Resume in PDF Format

In today’s world, most people email their resumes to hiring managers or submit it through a job board. When you email or upload an attachment, the lines can shift and the layout often differs from the way it looks when you print it on paper. If you want your resume to look the way you designed it to look, use print to PDF so that you can save the file and send it where it will be in read-only form. That way hiring managers can view your resume on any device, whether they are accessing your resume from their computer, tablet, or smartphone.

5. Failing to Proofread

Typos are an easy and careless way to tarnish your reputation. Make sure you are conscientious of what you are submitting and always proofread your resume before you press the send button. As many as 80 percent of HR managers will dismiss applicants simply because they did not proofread their resumes or accompanying emails.

By avoiding these resume killers, you can get past the first round of the application process and land an interview.


About the Author

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and a blogger who loves writing for the business, family, and home niches. She lives in Arizona with her three wonderful daughters and husband. Connect with her on Twitter at @DixieSomers.

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