It’s your calling card to the professional world, your ticket to the dance. So approach your resume as an all-important part of the process of finding a job – and avoid these five mistakes.
1. Not targeted to the role
It doesn’t need to take long to tailor your resume for the position you’re applying for. For a small amount of effort you can show a recruiter or employer that you’re the perfect candidate for this job, rather than any job.
Be sure to pick out the skills that are relevant for the job on offer, and leave out the experience you’ve had that’s completely unrelated.
2. Forgetting to mention achievements
Are you doing everything you can to make your resume stand out from the crowd? This may mean examining your writing style and layout skills but it may also mean simply highlighting the benefits you offer employers. And one brilliant way to highlight those benefits is to focus on your achievements in past roles.
Did your actions in a previous role result in increased efficiencies? Did they generate revenue, and if so how much? Did they introduce positive change to the company, and if so which changes? Showcasing your achievements tells employers you are results-oriented, proactive and effective – three qualities guaranteed to impress.
3. Too long
The best way to show off your communications skills is by creating a resume that’s compelling to read. A new graduate resume is usually one page while two pages is standard for everyone else, so if yours is longer than this, you risk looking like you can’t distinguish between what’s important information and what you should leave in the past. Edit it down.
Use bullet points to show clarity of thought and to precisely feature your strengths. Stay away from long paragraphs!
4. The unexplained gap
Everyone’s got one: that period of time where you have a gap on your resume. Perhaps you had children, decided to travel, or were made redundant and took a few months to find your feet. That’s fine, but don’t leave a gaping hole on your resume without an explanation. Instead, try and explain it with some finesse. ‘Taking some time out to spend with family’ doesn’t sound quite as good as ‘Opted for some real life experience in Australia, working in temporary jobs and travelling’, for example.
5. Stretching the truth
Make sure you give an accurate portrayal of your professional experience in your resume. It’s very easy for recruiters to discover if you’ve been stretching the truth by throwing in inflated job titles, exaggerating accomplishments, adding in additional duties or giving inaccurate dates to cover up job hopping. When asked what you earn, it’s common for people to give overblown salaries in the hope of a decent salary rise when moving to the next job, but it will probably be uncovered so, if in doubt, don’t do it.