Posted on 30 July 2020
As you compose your resume, you have probably read a few articles on the internet and received lots of advice. If so, you’ve probably come across quite a few pages about the various resume mistakes people make, from large ones like tailoring your CV for the wrong position to something as small as American spelling versus British.
In this article, we bring the little things into focus. Minor resume mistakes are common simply because they are easily overlooked. Job searching doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it is normal to send many applications out within a short span of time. In that case, it’s easy to make small mistakes, or cut down on work by sending the same cover letter to every posting.
But those things could be costing you the interview, and making your job search harder than it ought to be. The checklist below has 4 simple things to check before you hit the “apply” button.
- Spelling or grammatical mistakes
Most resume writers roll their eyes when they read this, as it is incredibly obvious. However, these mistakes often top the list of “deal-breakers” for hiring managers and agencies.
To avoid this, get a friend or family member to look through your resume, or invest in a checker like Grammarly. Errors can be hard to spot when you are the writer, so a second pair of eyes is always a big help. You’ll be surprised how many small errors there can be in a “simple” resume!
- Outdated or irrelevant information
Always keep your resume up-to-date. Imagine having the perfect qualifications and experience, only to never be contacted because you submitted your last handphone number instead of your current one. Make sure important contact information such as your addresses and numbers are all current and, more importantly, functioning.
Also, be careful about how you note down your contact information on your resume. Never add your contact information to the Header portion of a Word document or paste it as an image. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sort resumes, and the ATS will be unable to read that information and list your contact details as missing or incomplete.
- An unprofessional email address
Many resumes end in the bin because they came from “email@example.com” or something equally casual. While it may be tempting to keep all your correspondence in one place, it is good practice to have a professional email address for all your work-related mails. That email address should be your name and only your name.
If your first and/or last name is already taken (and it is likely to be), try combining the two, using your initials, or changing a full stop to an underscore. Examples include “timothy.goh”, “tim_goh”, or “timothy_gbh”.
- Lack of customisation
A common but nonetheless catastrophic mistake many job seekers make is to use the same resume and cover letter for every job. With the rise of ATS systems, many such resumes cannot pass the first screening, as they don’t contain the keywords and phrases the ATS system is scanning for. And no hiring manager likes to feel that he/she is just one of many options as he/she scans through your generic application.
While you don’t need to write a new resume for every job you intend to apply to (just the ones you’re really serious about), do tailor your resume by mentioning relevant experience and using keywords listed in the posting. This will greatly increase your chances of getting noticed, putting you one step closer to an interview.
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