As you search for a new job, a promotion, or a career change, make sure that your resume and LinkedIn profile are sending the right message.
The fact is, as you apply to a job posting online, you compete with anywhere from 200 to 500 other applicants. You just can’t afford to submit a document with mistakes that, with a little effort, can be easily avoided.
Mistake #1: Too many different fonts, sizes, and colors. Professional layout, easy-to-read font, and up to two different sizes is all you need to get your point across. Forget the bells and whistles, and concentrate on the content.
Mistake #2: Long, flowy paragraphs with lots of details. Get to the point! There should be no more than 4 bullet points under each job: if you have more than 4, break them up into functional sections. Make sure you use the implied first-person voice.
Mistake #3: Striving for a 2- or 3-page resume. Don’t fall into the trap of dragging out your resume just to fill up space. Every sentence and every bullet point should be concise, front-loaded with achievements, and have a purpose.
Mistake #4: Listing a full summary of your job duties. Instead, focus on results: what did you accomplish? how much money did you save your employer? what problems did you help solve, and how? Use numbers, dollars, and percentages to convey this clearly.
Mistake #5: Not paying attention to the order of information listed in the resume. Experience, keywords, and accomplishments should be organized strategically. The top 1/3 of the page is valuable space – the reader’s attention starts and often stops there.
Mistake #6: Spelling errors, alignment issues, inconsistencies. Double, triple, and quadruple-check every sentence and line of your resume. While proper formatting won’t get you the job, a resume full of mistakes and inconsistencies will get tossed in the trash.
Mistake #7: Using a standard cover letter for all job applications. Cover letters ARE vital to the job search process – it’s your chance to catch the reader’s attention. Succinctly demonstrate how you can alleviate the company’s PAIN points and show concrete examples.
Mistake #8: Who cares about Applicant Tracking Systems? I sure don’t! Most employers, big and small, use the ATS in order to weed out undesirable candidates. By adding in the right mix of relevant keywords with the proper formatting, you can beat the ATS!
Mistake #9: LinkedIn won’t help me find a job… will it? A complete LinkedIn profile is essential in today’s job market. Make sure to utilize all the allowed space: 120 characters in the headline section, and 2,000 characters in the summary section.
Avoid these mistakes and work on creating a resume that is not only visually appealing and succinct, but also sales-focused, relevant, and quality-oriented.
That’s the difference between a mediocre resume and an excellent one.