Simple Resume Mistakes that Can IMPACT Your Job Search !
PACE’s Candidate Services Manager Speaks Out About Surprisingly Common Resume Mistakes
We totally get that a job search can be a maddening process. Sending out what seems like resume after resume, never getting a response, or getting automated AI responses, can be beyond frustrating. Personally, I am not sure which is worse!
The process is even worse when you think about what happens to employers when they post a job opening. According to Workopolis.com, employers will receive anywhere from 75 to 250 applications per job posting. Unfortunately for the employer, all these applications aren’t coming from AMAZING candidates. Unfortunately for the job seeker, it’s very difficult to get your resume noticed.
Sadly, some very easy to fix resume mistakes can stall your job search – causing our resume to be skipped over, paused, or in some cases deleted by busy recruiters who don’t have the time to let you know why your resume was rejected.
This blog shares 4 of the most common resume mistakes I see on a daily basis – things I know move resumes from the top of the stack to the bottom. I’ll explain why certain resume mistakes are an issue and what you can do to fix them!
Lets get started!
Resume Mistake #1 – Listing your previous job titles, but not the companies where you worked!
This mistake can seem very small when you are applying for a position that requires certain experience and your resume simply lists all relevant experiences. You make sure to include your job title and then a full list of the work and skills you used on that job. No harm? No foul? Right? Wrong.
As a staffing professional that reviews thousands of resumes, when I don’t see a company name listed on a resume, it makes me wonder why you chose not to identify a former employer. Will your former employer speak poorly of you? Are you inflating your skills/experience (being an Executive Assistant in a small family business is quite different than being the Executive Assistant to Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos)? Did you actually work for a company or is this a made up position? And more!
And if you are fortunate enough to be considered, not including the names of former employers will impact how quickly a recruiter can process your application, allowing other candidates to get ahead of you in the selection process.
The best bet is to list your job title, the company name and its location, following by a comprehensive but succinct description of the work you performed and the accomplishments you achieved. Save the name of your supervisor and their contact information in a separate “reference contacts” document which you can provide to an employer once they become interested enough to consider you for hire.
Resume Mistake #2 – Leaving off your dates of employment or stating them inaccurately.
Although listing your previous experience is a resume must, your recruiter uses your dates of employment to identify patterns or trends in your work history. Yes, by listing your employment dates you may be throwing light on some facts that will get your resume passed over – but if current regulatory knowledge, for example, is an actual requirement to do the job, you wouldn’t want to be hired only to find out you didn’t have the current knowledge, skills, or expertise to do the work.
Most recruiters use the dates of employment on a resume to identify employment patterns – length of employment, reasons for taking or leaving jobs, identifying large gaps between jobs, etc. Lacking dates of employment, your resume is apt to be passed over even before your actual work history is reviewed.
For most job seekers, there’s really nothing to gain by leaving out dates of employment or stating them inaccurately or too generally (citing the years of employment rather than the month and year hired and the month and year when the employment ended) Most employers use third party services to checking and verify your dates of employment. Mistakes or omissions in those dates on a resume or an application can actually be a reason for an employer to terminate your employment, even after you are hired.
If your resume is formatted so that you are only listing your years of employment, rather than month and year, you invite your recruiter to wonder why you weren’t more specific. We suggest you provide an accurate description of both month and year you took and ended each of your jobs.
At PACE we work with candidates carefully to make sure their dates of employment are clearly identified and that all gaps in their employment record are identified and accounted for. Gaps are easily handled to actually reflect favorably on a personal quality. (ex. “John took a year off to take care of an ailing parent. He is now ready to return to the job market with a renewed focus on the type of work he would like to do, which is exactly the kind of job you have open right now.”)
Resume Mistake #3 – Sending or downloading an incomplete or irrelevant resume.
While the norm in today’s job market is for candidate’s to have different resumes for different types of jobs, when an incomplete or irrelevant resume is submitted for a job posting, you’ve just made it easy for your resume to be ignored, or pushed down to the bottom of the resume pile. Honestly, I view this mistake as a sign that a job candidate is either too sloppy or unprofessional to be worth my time.
If your excuse is that you were rushed and didn’t pay attention to an important detail or simply sent the wrong resume, you obviously won’t be considered for any job where “attention to detail” is a requisite. And even if attention to detail isn’t an important job requirement, it is an important requirement for busy recruiters.
The remedy is simple. Take the time necessary to read and review each resume before you submit it or download it into a job board portal. If you have multiple versions of your resume, name each version so that you can easily identify which resume you want to submit for each job opening. And give the document your name, not its version name (ex. Black.Nick.Resume.2018 is perfect). Make it easy for your recruiter to link your resume to your application.
Resume Mistake #4. Putting your resume text on loud or brightly colored backgrounds.
If I open up a resume that has a background color other than white, crème, pale gray or blue, I am probably going to skim it as fast as possible and move on. Why? When a recruiter is looking at a computer 8+ hours a day, your eyes get fatigued to the point where you just don’t want to read type on bright colors. Its almost like the screen shining a bright light in your eyes. .
Using bright, bold and potentially interesting colors can make your resume stand out, but not for any of the right reasons. If you are applying to a staffing agency like PACE, you’ve just created an obstacle in that we have to change up your background color before they can send it to their client.
I certainly hope these tips make sense to you and give you a better understanding of how a recruiter views resumes, and how you can make your resume stand out for all the right reasons, instead of the wrong ones. Best of luck in your job search, we hope to hear from you!
This article was written by Nicholas Black, Candidate Services Manager for the PACE Staffing Network. If you are interested in finding out how PACE can “make a difference” in your job search, contact Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org