Looking for a new job can be a rewarding experience, particularly if you are successful early on in your search; however for many jobseekers it can also be a long, frustrating process with a seemingly endless supply of ‘thanks, but no thanks’ responses to applications. For a hiring manager, the first impression they have of you as a potential employee is when reading your resume, so it’s important to ensure that your CV is an accurate representation of your ability and skillset.
Here are the top 3 mistakes jobseekers make on their resumes:
- Submitting a generic resume: No two jobs are the same, therefore why would you assume that you can use a ‘one size fits all’ resume to apply for roles? The best way you can make an employer take notice of your resume is to tailor it to meet the skills required on the job description. Now we don’t mean make things up! What we mean is if an advertisement specifies they require someone with presentation skills for instance, make sure you include the time you presented to the board of directors an idea you had, or even attach examples of the types of Powerpoint / Keynote’s you have produced in the past.
- Your resume looks like it was put together by a 5 year old: You don’t need a fancy resume to get noticed – after all, it’s the information it holds that is the key to your job search success! Badly formatted resumes not only make it hard for employers to work out if your experience is relevant to the role they are hiring for, they also reflect badly on your computer skills and attention to detail. The best way to represent your information is in a clear and concise way. Instead of writing big blocks of text, break up your information in byte size, easy to read points. List your key skills in a separate area, your key interests, and make sure that none of your experience is duplicated.
- Making out that you are fluent in Swahili and have a degree in astrophysics: aka.. don’t lie! You might think that lying on your resume will get your foot in the door, but ultimately if you are unable to back up your claims of experience on your resume at the interview stage (or worse, if you are actually hired for a role you have no idea how to do), it will reflect you in a negative light for any future roles you want to apply for. In an age where information is everywhere, don’t assume that employers will just take what is on your resume as bible – many hiring managers now extensively research the claims jobseekers make on their CVs via Google searches and social networks!
Your resume is like your passport to the world of work, so you should always endeavour to make it the centre of your ‘personal brand’ experience. Ensure it is easy to read, detailed (but not so long that a hiring manager needs to take 3 weeks personal leave to trawl through the whole thing), and accurately represents your skills and abilities. What are the top things that have worked for you to make your CV stand out from other jobseekers?