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What is the biggest mistake you see in a resume?

I am a senior attending university majoring in business administration. I am currently applying for internships that could lead to my career path after graduation. #marketing #career-path #resume

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John’s Answer

YOU'VE GOT SIX SECONDS, IMPRESS ME

Only 6-seconds Daniella. That's all the time you have to convince the recruiter to move forward with you. In order to pass the 6-second review test, you need to think like a recruiter and structure your resume to flow in a very specific way. In order to be 6-second worthy, your resume needs to make the most of formatting and content. Consider the facts. On average, a company receives 250 applications for every opening they have. Combine that statistic with the fact that 75% of candidates are not qualified for the jobs they apply to, and you can see how daunting it is for a recruiter to sift through hundreds of resumes. Time is of the essence and 6-seconds is all you’ve got.

STICK TO THE FACTS
To free up space on your resume, take out all the flowery, subjective text where you try to make your accomplishments sound more important. Recruiters cringe when they see things like, "I'm a innovative self-starter who has mastered the art of..." Instead, stick to the facts. Numbers are not only the easiest thing to read when skimming a resume, they are also what is most likely to be remembered by the recruiter. You’re making your first impression with your resume and you want your best foot forward. Your resume should be error-free, visually appealing, and polished. Include an appropriate amount of white space and keep the formatting and fonts simple and easy to read. Look at your resume with a critical eye and make sure you have 1-2 other people proof it & give you feedback.

SHOW YOUR RESULTS
Every square inch of your resume is valuable real estate that you should use to your advantage. Avoid using typical resume phrases, clichés, and fillers. Many candidates use the same words and phrases on their resumes and at some point, recruiters will tune you out. Carefully select the right words to amplify how you fit the position. Highlight the results you’ve created in your career and emphasize the transferrable skills that could be valuable to a prospective employer. Don’t just write about the jobs you had and what you did; show evidence that you were great at your job and you’ll stand apart.

6-seconds may not seem like much time, but with the right strategy, you can use those 6-seconds to your advantage. Make sure you’re applying for the right jobs and customize your resume (and cover letter) for each opportunity. Apply the 6-second test to your own resume and ask yourself, will you make the cut Daniella?

Hope this was Helpful Daniella

John recommends the following next steps:

Use an easy-to-read font
Maintain a balance white space-to-text ratio
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much John!! I truly appreciate your response and found it extremely helpful. Daniella
Thank you comment icon Your Welcome Daniella, It was my Pleasure. The real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the job. John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You for your Continued Support Aun. Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Alison. “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” – James Matthew Barrie John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Rodolfo. “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr. John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Molly. “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Alonzo. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr. John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Nicole. “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia John Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Sonia. “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan John Frick
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Kim’s Answer

Good question!

The biggest mistake I see is wasting the top half of the page! You need to truly sell yourself there. Get rid of the Career Objective. You want a job. Everyone knows that. Move education to the bottom. Sorry, everyone has one, and it does not tell the employer what you can actually DO for them - only that you managed to set and achieve a goal. Yes, the school will tell you otherwise, they like seeing their name proudly displayed on resumes. Instead, start with a Skills section, or Skills and Qualifications, or something like that. It's okay to put a short caption under the header, such as "Logistics Professional transitioning to Administrative Services Management." Oh, and, even though the skills and qualifications section is at the top, write it last. That's right. After you have done all the reflection on your past employment, and really developed an understanding of what it is you bring to the table, then, write the skills section. It will be much stronger this way!

Also, as you write, remember that the purpose of business is to make money. Focus on things you can do that show how you can make or save money for the company. Regulatory Compliance, Safety, improving operational efficiencies, etc.

Best of luck!
Kim
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your comment Kim. I found your tips super constructive and helpful. All is appreciated. Daniella
Thank you comment icon you're welcome! Take a look at the website gotresumebuilder.com for an awesome customizable resume template. In its "manage resume sections" you can rename, rearrange, delete, or create your own section heading. It does all the formatting, etc. The only template I have ever found truly workable! Kim Igleheart
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Wilson’s Answer

Hello Daniella G.

Once upon a time (maybe) it seemed that we could just write a resume, or get a friend who’s a better writer than us write our resume. You could polish the intro statement into a work of art. Craft each job description so finely that they were as short as possible while still conveying your work history in eloquent prose.

Then, having finished this masterpiece, you were armed with the perfect document to wow employers across the spectrum of roles that interested you and land your dream job.

I’m not sure if this was ever true, but it certainly isn’t now. That finely-tuned resume should actually serve only as a template for the ones you actually send out.

The biggest mistake on a resume? Using the same one over and over again. The shotgun approach doesn’t work. Employers can spot a generic application in a nanosecond, and they don’t like it. Hiring managers want to see a document that tailors your skills and experience specifically to the job they posted, and demonstrates what you can do for them.

Five other common resume mistakes (that generally stem from the biggest mistake on a resume):

1 – Not matching your title to the job
The title of your resume should match the title of the job you are applying to. If your resume has a different title, it looks like you are applying to a different job. Don’t make the hiring manager try to guess how your particular career title matches up with the position they are hiring for. Make it clear. If you’re applying for the Office Manager position, send in a resume with ‘Office Manager’ in the title.

2- Describing job responsibilities – not accomplishments
Hiring managers know what job descriptions match your old job titles. There’s little mystery in what an Editor or a Customer Service Representative does. The unique and interesting part is what you alone accomplished in that role. What set you apart? What have you done, learned or accomplished there that can be particularly useful to your potential new employer. Use numbers if you can.

3- Not tailoring your work history and accomplishments
All of your jobs, community or voluntary work can potentially be relevant if you can highlight how the skills you learned and used benefit your new employer. You have to market your transferable skills to the target company’s business needs. (You’ll know what these are from carefully reading the job description that you are applying to.) Sell your experience.

4- Listing too many jobs
As much as I said that every job and community activity can be relevant, it is also possible to list too many on a resume. I don’t believe that a resume has to fit on one page, or even on two if you need more space to sell your story. However, everything that is included has to be compelling. Descriptions of irrelevant jobs that you held a decade or more ago will only serve to take up valuable space and water down the good stuff. Keep it recent, and cut to the essentials.

If you have valuable accomplishments from many older jobs that you think it is important to include, consider using an ‘Other Relevant Experience’ sub section underneath your recent work history where you can bullet point these wins briefly.

5- Not proofreading
Need I say it? Employers expect you to try hard, pay attention to detail and produce quality work on the job.

What does it say to an employer about a candidate who can’t even present an error-free document when they are most trying to impress them in order to land the job in the first place? That you’re either not that good, or that you don’t care that much. Either way, you won’t be getting the call for an interview.

Proofread. Take a break. Proofread again. Then have someone else proofread it for you.

The real ‘masterpiece’ resume is the one that speaks to an employer so much that it is as though it were written just for them personally. And that’s because it has been.
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Nina’s Answer

Hi Daniella,

The biggest mistake I see on resumes is incorrect spelling and grammar. I would advise that you have numerous people look over your resume and provide you with feedback. The career center at my college always had resume boot camps in which students could come in from 12-2pm and have their resume reviewed by professionals. I attended two of these events and it elevated my resume drastically. From there, I was able to help my peers review their resume as well. Also, I would suggest paying close attention to the bullets under each job description. Highlight your accomplishments and detail the skills you developed while on the job. I hope these tips help! Thanks for your question!
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Simeon’s Answer

The biggest mistakes I've seen in applications is to have too much length or details on the wrong topics. It's fine to have hobbies and volunteering listed, but it's not a good idea to add more details if they're not demonstrating skills that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Also, once you get your entry level job, it's not usually important to list GPA and other academic accomplishment. Past that point, the biggest thing to highlight is your work experience.
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Shiraz’s Answer

Not to stick to the points and elaborate too much in detail is one big mistake i usually see in resumes i come across. resumes should ideally be very concise and to the point and limit to 1-2 pages max. also too much old experience becomes little irrelevant to current job market.
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Grace’s Answer

There is so much you can do to make your resume stand out, but one thing that will very quickly squash your chances - spelling and grammar errors!! I previously worked as a recruiter and if I saw spelling errors on a resume, it told me that the candidate probably did not have good attention to detail and did not double check his or her work. Think of your resume as the first example of the work product you would provide for the company - if there are spelling errors, the hiring coordinator might think you would do sloppy work if they hired you. After you have proofread your resume, have a trusted friend or family member look over it to make sure there are no errors. Good luck!
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Corinne’s Answer

There are some good answers here, so I will just add this: one of the biggest mistakes I see is that the resume is not tailored to the job they are applying to. Delete off the stuff that is not relevant to that specific job (even if you think it makes you look good or well rounded). And add the skills that are relevant; take them straight from the job listing and put it in there (as long as it applies to you).

A few more words of advice:
- Don’t be afraid to have your resume professionally written. There are cheap services out there that do a wonderful job. I recommend looking on thumbtack.
- Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile and put it on your resume. Always have an online presence. And on that note, see what is visible on your other social media accounts and make sure that nothing damaging is public. Google your name and make sure everything is good there too.
- If they give you the option to include a cover letter, always do it. Even if it’s just optional. They may not even read it but you’ll get extra bonus points for including it.
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Adam’s Answer

Hi Daniella:

One of the biggest and to me, one of the most glaring mistakes I see on a resume is: grammar. Misspelled words are completely inappropriate. In addition, grammar should be reviewed. Proofread your resume several times and have a trusted person also read it for you. Attention to detail is key.

Another thing that I notice is job experience that is not relevant to the position at hand. Generally, I do not like to see 20 years of job history. However, if you are newly graduated and searching for the job, I don't mind seeing this type of experience as it gives an insight to your goals.

Voluminous text. Please be specific. When reviewing resumes, there's a finite amount of time that is spent looking at them. If there is 4 pages of lengthy text, this may be detrimental to your efforts. Succinct is best.

Do not outline job positions in your resume. I would like to see your accomplishments. Tell us what you have done at your previous employment, not your daily activities.

These are the main items that I feel would cause a resume to be passed by.

Hope this helps!
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Swapnil’s Answer

Thank you for your question, Daniella! To me, it comes down to realizing the purpose of the resume - the purpose of the resume is to get the reviewer to initiate a follow-on dialog/conversation with you. There will then be additional opportunities to cover details and specifics in those. As some of the other responders have already mentioned here, reviewers have just a few seconds to go over each resume and make a call for following on or not. Hence striking the balance of including all relevant information without overwhelming the intended recipient is key. Hope this helps!
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Youssef’s Answer

The biggest mistake I see is listing responsibilities and neglecting actual impactful accomplishments... always focus on how you've helped solve a problem as part of a team and highlight the tangible benefits that were achieved. Also, list professional certifications and training as those are very impactful in the resume selection process especially with AI
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Ross’s Answer

The biggest mistake I see is grammar/spelling errors. My other pet peeve is when young professionals or students have a resume that's longer than one page. Often, young professionals and students put items on their resume that they care about that no one reviewing their resume cares about.
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Steve’s Answer

It's so important to remember the "thumb" rule when creating your CV (resume). The reader of your CV (a Hiring Manager or a Recruiter) will usually only ready down to the thumb holding up the CV, so this means to make sure the impactful information is situated up front in your CV. Catch the reader to the degree they wish to consider you further for that role/job. Enter critical "key words" that a scanner will pick up with those firms who have the extra technology for sorting out folks to interview or reject. List your contact details so it's easy to get a hold of you. List your Linked In profile URL (link) for easy access. List your career experience and educational results as appropriate. Begin the CV with a short statement that tells the ready who you are and what you love to deliver for a prospective firm.


Happy CV prep.....
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Shannon Shae’s Answer

I think the biggest mistake people make is that they focus on the tactical things they did rather than skills or highlights. Less is more in the case of a resume. Also, as companies try to diversify their pipeline of candidates, there will be an increased focus on culture add vs culture fit. A focus on the unique contribution that a candidate brings to culture is an important skill to highlight.
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Julia’s Answer

Hi Daniella,

I worked at a student career center - the most common edits that I observed were the experience descriptions. When you are listing out your current or past work experience, make sure you answer the what, how, and why for your responsibilities/tasks. What did you specifically do, what tools/resources did you use to be successful, and why was this task or responsibility important. Good luck!