Writing the perfect resume is impossible, but writing an effective one is within anyone’s grasp when using a few simple rules. There are a thousand things to do right when crafting a resume, but there are only a handful of mistakes one can make in the process, which makes them easy to remember and even easier to avoid.
Resume expectations differ for every job, but the five tips below will help you create a more purpose-driven, effective resume no matter what your career goals may be.
1. No Additional Pages
It’s a proven scientific fact that peoples’ attention spans are getting shorter. Overexposure to the Internet and its ability to deliver instantaneous facts is reshaping expectations when it comes to the presentation of information.
This makes it now more important than ever to fit all relevant information onto one page. Some jobs may require longer, more detailed resume packages, but this is almost always made apparent by the employer.
2. No References/Reference Statements
Again, this is information that an employer will request if it is desired. The rule of thumb when crafting a resume without any guidance is to leave off references or statements like “references provided upon request.”
A statement regarding references may seem innocuous, but it can send a message to employers that a candidate does not have more relevant information to provide and is using up space, or is in the habit of making redundant statements.
3. No Hobbies/Interests/Awards
This is also a veiled announcement to employers that the candidate has run out of useful information to provide and is now just filling up space. There is merit in the notion that employers would or should care about how a potential employee rounds out his or her personal life, but the simple fact is that there are many things an employer cares more about, like skills, past experience and education.
The exception to this rule is when a person’s personal endeavors – particularly volunteerism – reflect specific skills the employer seeks. For example, a person who volunteers with the local parks department may want to mention that service when pursuing a job as a landscaper.
4. No Typos
This is an obvious statement, but perhaps not for the most obvious of reasons. Many companies today ask that job seekers upload their resumes into databases so that they may be better organized and reviewed, and sometimes the upload process can create wonky effects in a resume.
If an employer requests that a resume be uploaded, candidates might want to consider creating a text-only version of their resumes to guarantee the upload process does not create unwanted or even unknown typos.
5. No Frills
It’s true that desire often leads to innovation and creativity, and these are both very good things, but the temptation to be “unique” on a resume is one best left unfulfilled.
There is no way to say a resume printed on red paper wouldn’t win over the HR reps at the American Heart Association, or that paper scented with perfume wouldn’t be an advantage in the offices of Chanel, but the safe bet is that these tactics will not create an advantage.
More importantly in the Digital Age, however, is that this also goes for fonts and settings in computer documents. Using arrows instead of bullets is not going to make the difference, but using an unfamiliar font or confusing format might.
Keep these five common resume mistakes in mind and avoid them, and you may be surprised to find your job prospects looking up.
This article was written by James Madeiros who writes for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, a resource site providing information on law enforcement degrees and careers.