The Top Five Mistakes Made When Writing A Resume

This article discusses the top five mistakes made when writing a resume.

Your resume is perhaps the most important document you will ever write, but don't worry: We're all in the same boat.

Writing a resume is stressful, difficult and frustrating. How do you encapsulate your work history effectively in a one- or two-page document? What do you choose to say about yourself and what do you omit? How do you draw attention to your strong points without coming off as arrogant?

This article will discuss the top five mistakes made when writing a resume. Always keep the expression "Keep it simple, stupid!" in mind when writing, editing and designing your resume. You want your resume to be clear, precise and easy-to-read so that you don't drive your reader away before you even have the chance to meet for an interview.

Your resume must be an effective marketing tool that helps you get your foot in the door. You should project a professional, optimistic, capable persona to your potential employee, and this means choosing your words carefully and editing your resume with diligence to be sure no errors get by.

Below are the five most common errors resume writers make and some useful advice on how to avoid these shortfalls yourself.

Beginning at the end: The importance of editing

Good editing is perhaps the most important element to your resume. Nothing kills a resume faster than a badly placed spelling or typographical error. These types of errors tell employers that you're careless, sloppy or unable to double-check your work. Look for spelling and grammatical errors, inconsistencies, missing information and dates, and formatting glitches. Make sure you provide an address, phone number and accompanying cover letter, and if you feel too close to edit your work give it to a friend who may offer a fresh perspective or catch new errors.

Target your resume: Avoid the generic

Design your resume to appeal to the prospective employee you're pitching it to and avoid generic terms. You may possess general skills, but they have specific applications to the organization you are applying for your potential employer will want to know what specific skills you can bring to the job. Research the organization you're interested in before writing your resume to custom fit it to the company and job you are applying for.

The facts, only the facts: Know your boundaries

Your resume isn't a poem describing what kind of person you are or why your mother thinks you're special: It's a document describing your work history, educational background and skills. Avoid redundancies. I repeat: Avoid redundancies. Find new ways to explain skills and skill sets where overlap occurs, and remember that you want to give the impression of a progression, giving more importance to current skills than ones in the past. Give more weight to your present job than one you held years ago.

A resume is only skin deep: Beauty secrets of a well-rounded resume

A resume represents you to prospective employees. Do you go to job interviews in sweat pants and a T-shirt, with a three-day grown? Of course not. You tidy up, shave, and wear your best suit; so do the same with your resume. Use good, quality paper and non-smearing ink. Employ consistent formatting that is creative, but not flashy, and use bold, clear typeface. It goes without saying that you should never send a resume that has stains, bends or other defects.

Less is more:

Use precise, clear sentences in your resume and strong verbs to describe your skills. Avoid passive construction or flabby language that sounds overly bureaucratic. Always list you skills in present tense. Consider using bulleted formats in order to conserve space. Remember: Don't you two words where one will suffice. You want your resume to be easy to read and user friendly, not overly complicated or convoluted.

A good resume is only the beginning, of course, and you should always follow-up your efforts by calling, e-mailing or visiting your potential employer in person. Even if you don't get the job, write a note thanking the employer for his or her time and remember to keep track of your job efforts.

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