Since most open positions result in at least 10 resumes for every one that is offered an interview, it’s really important that your resume makes a great first impression. So let’s look at the ten most egregious mistakes people make when making that impression!
10. Photo: Employers worry about being accused of discrimination in hiring so many automatically exclude any resume that includes a headshot. Unless you are applying for a modeling position or hold the current Miss/Mr. America title, don’t put a photograph on your resume.
9. “References Upon Request” -- Oh please – don’t you think that’s already assumed? Is a candidate really going to decline to provide references if they’re requested? No need to state the obvious!
8. Unnecessary Personal Details – Obviously, contact information, academic and professional credentials related to the sought-after position, and experience must be included but extraneous personal information (race, religion, political affiliation, marital status, age, etc.) should be left off resumes. The one exception is if the personal data relates directly to the position for which you are applying. If, for instance, you are applying for a position with a political group, past professional or volunteer political experience would be highly relevant.
7. Objective – Unless you are a very recent graduate, don’t bother to include an statement of your objective(s). The resume is intended to convey that your objective is to obtain the position for which you are applying – no need (at least on your resume) to indicate your longer-term goals.
6. Your experience as a camp counselor when you were 15 – Keep the information in your resume relevant to the position for which you are applying. And assuming you are not a recent high school graduate, summer jobs are probably not relevant (the exception to this would be an internship in a related field or with a related company if, and only if, you are a recent college graduate).
5. Confidential Information – If you’ve been the recipient of confidential information in your past jobs, make sure to keep it confidential. Information about previous colleagues (unless specifically relevant), trade secrets, financial disclosures, etc. don’t belong in a resume and will give the reader concerns about whether you are trust-worthy with their organization’s information.
4. TMI – Remember that hiring managers/HR professionals may get hundreds of resumes for one open position. Don’t be verbose – get to the point and then let it alone. An interview is when you can expand on your credentials (although being succinct in an interview is equally important). Too much information simply makes it too difficult to separate the “wheat” from the “chaff” about you.
3. Salary Expectations – The role of a resume is to get you an interview. Salary negotiations should never be conducted until a position is actually offered.
2. Typos and grammatical errors – I can’t say this enough. Proof, proof and then have someone proof it for you! HR professionals indicate that at least 40% of all resumes received have typos and/or simply grammatical errors and they rarely, if ever, get passed on to a hiring manager.
1. Lies – I hope it goes without saying that everything stated in your resume MUST be true. This doesn’t mean you have to share every detail (for instance, you wouldn’t want to state that you’d been fired or that you’d mishandled negotiations) but if you state something, it needs to accurately reflect your knowledge, credentials or experience. I once had a colleague who was fired after six years of excellent performance, when it was discovered that she didn’t have the advanced degree she had claimed on her resume.