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Your resume is the best tool you have at your disposal to highlight your work experience, education, and relevant skill sets. It’s the first thing employers look for to help them make a decision of whether or not to invite you for a job interview, so it’s important that you beef up this document if you want to have a fighting chance at being considered for a job opening.
More than just building a truly impressive resume, you have to also learn to avoid the following red flags in your resume so all the hard work you put into creating it does not go to waste.
1. A list of references
While it’s okay to add references to your resumes, it’s highly unlikely that it’ll do your resume any good. If you should put in your character references, they should always appear on a separate page. As a general rule, unless the recruiter or the HR personnel specifically requested that you add your references on your resume, don’t. Remove the “References: Available Upon Request” line from your resume because it’s understood that you will. Save some space and your potential employer’s time and just refrain from putting in references unless, of course, when you’re told specifically to do so.
2. Complete sentences instead of bulleted points
The recruiter won’t have the time to read through all your credentials in sentence form. With hundreds of other resumes in his/her table, make the selection process easier by sending a one or two-page resume with your education, skills, and work experiences in bullet points.
3. Generic accomplishments with no quantitative data to backup your claims
HR personnel and hiring managers look for numbers, figures, and data when looking at your resume. When you say that you’ve helped grow the company sales targets, they want to know by how much. Adding numbers highlights your accomplishments and paints a better picture of what you actually managed to do.
As an added tip, always answer the question “how” when writing about your accomplishments. If you claim to increase your department’s revenue by “X” amount, talk about what you did to achieve it.
4. Enumerating “duties” and “responsibilities” instead of achievements
The best way to describe your previous job descriptions is not through outlining your “duties” and “responsibilities” but by your achievements. Talk about what you accomplished while handling the position and include numbers to better illustrate your achievements. For example, instead of writing “headed the sales team,” consider “led the sales team to exceed sales target by 50%” – remember that number thing!
5. Spelling and grammatical errors abound
HR managers and recruiters are likely to pass up on your resume after finding even just a single spelling or grammar error. Use online spelling and grammar checkers to proofread your CV or have someone take a look at it for you. Draft a copy of your resume and print it out so you can manually go through everything you’ve written in your resume. Make sure it’s 100% error-free before sending it over to companies you’d like to work for in the future.
6. An unprofessional email address
A professional resume should also have a professional-looking email address. Keep it simple – using your name is best. If you’re a die-hard One Direction fan or a huge Hello Kitty junkie, best to keep that personal and create a professional e-mail address you will be using for all job-related correspondence. One more tip? Don’t use your current work e-mail unless you are self-employed.
7. A tone that’s too friendly and personal
Resumes are professional documents so it shouldn’t sound too friendly or divulged too much personal information. Let your personality shine through in your resume by including volunteer experience or a (very) short section about your interests.
With hundreds of job seekers vying for the same job posting, it can be a little tempting to embellish your resume with half-truths and little white lies. Whatever you do, don’t fall into this trap. Use your resume to highlight your potential as a future employee and you’ll be surprised you’d be getting job interviews left and right just by being yourself. Good luck!
For more resume writing advice and tips, visit jobsDB’s “Guide to the Perfect Resume“.