Rejection. Ghosting. Never hearing back from your prospective employer. It’s a common problem. If you’re searching for a job, you may have experienced it.
Sometimes, the issue is too many applicants for a particular job. At other times, resumes fall through the cracks, or someone else has a bit more experience or greater credentials than you do.
But sometimes, something you included in your resume gets it tossed in the trash.
How can you avoid this tragic outcome? Below, discover four of the most common resume mistakes and how to avoid them.
Mistake No. 1: Discriminatory Information
In many countries, the United States included, laws are in place to protect job applicants from discrimination. Employers are supposed to look at a person’s experience and skills without distraction from bias over gender, race, or other factors. Resumes that contain possible discriminatory temptations may be categorically rejected.
A common mistake many resume writers make is including information that could cause them to be discriminated against, such as:
- A photograph
- Age-related information, such as date of birth or a decades-past graduation date
- References to gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, political affiliation, or other hot button issues – be aware that Hobbies & Interests, Volunteerism, and even past employment may hint at these
- References to marital status, childbearing status, income, or past illicit activity
If you choose to include any of the above information, one of two things may happen. One, you may actually be discriminated against. On the other hand, an employer who does not want to risk an anti-discrimination lawsuit may reject your resume to avoid any future claims of discrimination. After all, if they choose from a pool of candidates who did not reveal this information, claims of discrimination are not an issue.
The safe course is to avoid the inclusion of any information that could result in bias.
Mistake No. 2: Contact Information Mistakes
If your employer cannot get in touch with you, you will obviously never hear back from them. For this reason, it is important to check to make sure that your contact information is accurate and up to date.
There are also other contact information mistakes that you should watch out for. For example, is your email address professional?
Many students have cute, silly, or even obscene email addresses. This is fine for ordinary social interaction, but it should not appear on your professional resume.
Instead, use a free email provider such as Gmail to create a professional-sounding email address. If possible, use some combination of your name or initials. Then, be sure to check your new email inbox regularly!
It is good to include your LinkedIn profile in your contact information. There, you may feature additional information or portfolio links. You can also include professional social media accounts. For example, you might include a link to your Instagram photography portfolio. However, you should never include personal social media accounts. Don’t forget to remove any potentially objectionable or incriminating photos or comments from your personal accounts or set them to a private setting. Why? Even though they’re not on your resume, a manager hiring you may Google your name and find them.
Mistake No. 3: Generic Resumes
It is good to use online resume builder resources to create an easy and professional-looking resume. However, you should never simply copy and paste a sample resume you found online. Untrue claims will be discovered.
Hiring managers are not likely to respond well to a generic resume. You should always tailor the resume to each job that you apply to.
To do this, examine the job posting for resume keywords such as education requirements, needed experience, skills, computer programs, or tools. Additionally, you should get to know the company and its values by examining its website or talking to current or former employees. Display these qualities in your job descriptions or objective statement.
Mistake No. 4: Typos
Nothing screams “Unprofessional!” louder than a resume that is full of typos, grammatical errors, and misspelled words. You can say you have communication skills and attention to detail, but allowing errors to slip into your resume tells a very different story. It will be assumed that if you make careless mistakes on this important document, you will do so in your work as well.
Proofread your resume and correct any errors before submitting it. You can use a program such as Grammarly to catch errors you might have missed.
Protect your resume from rejection. Doing so is not hard. You should remove any potentially discriminatory information such as a photo or references to unnecessary personal details. Make sure that your contact information is accurate and professional.
Don’t use a generic resume. Instead, tailor your resume to each job you apply for. Finally, proofread your resume and correct any typographical errors.
For suggestions on improving your general writing skills, read here: