Resume mistakes are easy to make—but they’re also easy to fix. Here are five common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Senior level and experienced job seekers have different challenges then someone just graduating from high school or university. You need to find a way to be concise and highlight your achievements throughout your career. But how do you do this without appearing outdated? And how do you include important details without overwhelming the reader?
With strategy and smart editing, it can be done.
Mistake 1: Listing every position since you left school
We can become very emotionally attached to all the great accomplishments we’ve accumulated over the years and it is so very tempting to include every single one. Instead, keep your resume to the last 10-15 years. Employers care about your most recent years of experience.
Mistake 2: Glossing over details to avoid showing your age
As professionals summarise their experience, they often downplay specific achievements in favour of generalities. The underpinning thought is that they just want to give a high-level view of what they’ve done. This could be due to a lack of confidence or fear that their expertise will give their age away.
Don’t leave out important and relevant achievements but be specific and support your claims with metrics whenever you can. You could use a formula like this: “achievement x, y, z, resulting in a, b, c.” Achievements will showcase your maturity and wisdom without necessarily revealing your age.
Mistake 3: Not telling a clear story
Experience job seekers with long careers have often had many different and even sometimes seemingly unrelated jobs. This less-than-obvious career path is not wrong, but it can make it difficult for the employer to get a sense of what you’re all about.
So, instead of including a long laundry list of positions that would put most readers to sleep find a way to sum it up. You could include a summary statement at the top that ties your diverse experience together using a common theme or set of transferable skills. This allows you to highlight your main selling points in a clean and concise manner that readers will be able to grasp straight away.
Mistake 4: Using outdated technology
Using the same email address since 2005 probably won’t kill your chances of being hired but it can be a red flag. Using an email address from AOL or Hotmail can signal to the employer that you’re not as tech savvy as other candidates. This can work against you as you don’t want to appear to be holding onto outdated tech but rather come across as knowledgeable of the latest technologies and how to use these in the business world today.
There may not be any outright age discrimination, but it would be best to use an email service like Gmail that is popular across all age groups.
Also, it would be a very good idea to create a digital presence if you haven’t already done so. Make sure your social media accounts have recent tweets, posts and shares. Use LinkedIn to network and join in discussion with professionals in your field. If applicable to the job you’re applying for, include your social media links right on your resume.
Mistake 5: Not updating your resume for each position
Many companies now utilise applicant tracking systems to filter out unqualified candidates. The system will scan your resume, and if it doesn’t pick up keywords, your resume won’t even get to a real person. The system will just put it in the “NO” pile. You have to tweak your resume for each job you’re applying for, making sure you use the same keywords in the job advertisement and/or role description. [Read: Using Keywords To Boost Your Resume]
No matter how long you’ve been in the workforce, there’s bound to be some uncertainly when it comes to resume writing. Would you like some help getting your resume on track for your next job application? Get a FREE RESUME REVIEW today from the experts at Résumés for Results. The advice you’ll receive is a quick and easy way to know whether your skills, experience, and drive are coming through loud and clear.
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