I once wrote out, by hand, all the minor achievements and marks I had received at high school. By the end I couldn’t tell which words were spelled correctly and, understandably, hardly any of the details actually ended up on the finished product. To make sure you don’t waste your time like I did, we’re putting together a series on how to create, write and format your resume.
To start with, here’s a list of what not to do when preparing your CV, to ensure that your resume ends up on the short list not in the trash.
1. Don’t Go Crazy with Fonts and Layout
It may seem obvious, but I have seen many resumes with inappropriate fonts, colors, and images with essential information buried in a sea of italics and underlines. When writing your resume, keep it simple, clean, and easy-to-read. I know comic-sans or cursive can be fun, but your potential employers won’t agree. Keep it professional, make use of white space, be consistent, and have all your information available for scanning eyes.
2. Don’t Include Typos and Grammatical Errors
Everyone makes mistakes; it is only human. That's why you need to check and triple check your resume for any typos or errors. These kinds of mistakes can make you seem lazy or inattentive. It can be hard to catch everything though, especially if you are looking over your resume repeatedly to make sure it’s perfect. The best way to avoid typos and grammatical errors is to have someone else look over it for you.
3. Don’t Leave Out Keywords
Increasingly, employers are using electronic screeners to scan resumes for certain keywords, and not including these can drastically affect you chances of getting a job. We’ll discuss resume screeners, and what keywords they look for, further in a future Career Spot blog. Even if they don’t screen electronically, employers still manually scan for their chosen keywords, and if they aren’t there, you’re unlikely to get an interview.
4. Don’t Hide the Gaps
Employers respect integrity, and if you are lying on your resume or trying to hide the gaps between employers it will look dishonest. It’s OK to have periods of unemployment on your resume and often during that time, you learn different soft skills which are applicable to the job. Whether you took time out to raise a family, to travel or to focus on your education, use it as an opportunity to discuss what you learned during that time and how it will benefit the workplace.
5. Don’t Overshare
The only personal information required on your resume is your name and contact details. Although it is illegal to discriminate it can happen subconsciously, so leave out details such as age, marital status, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, political affiliations, how many children you have, history of incarceration and so on. It’s not relevant to whether you can do the job and if necessary they can be discussed during the employment process. Also, unless you are applying for acting or modeling work, don’t include a headshot. It’s not necessary and you don’t want recruiters spending too much time looking at your photo, rather than your skill set.
Have you heard of any other big resume mistakes that weren’t mentioned here? Let us know on the Career Spotlight with CCI Training Facebook group. Next time we’ll touch on some resume do’s to help ensure your resume is well-written, polished and ready to get you ahead in your career.