Writing a resume can be a difficult and confusing task. And while there are many resources that tell you what a resume should include, there are few adequate resources telling you what to leave off. Not knowing which information to remove from your resume can actually hurt your chances during a job search and make the difference between getting called for an interview or not. Here are the top five mistakes that will get your resume tossed:
- Putting a picture on your resume. In theory, this may seem like a great idea. It shows the recruiter what you look like and may create a more familiar feeling during the interview. The problem is that it can also create an open case for discrimination. Many employers will not accept resumes with a picture on them for legal reasons, so it’s a good idea to leave it off. A picture sends up two warning flags – either you don’t know about current hiring practices or you are looking for a lawsuit. Either way, you will probably not get the interview.
- Your inappropriate personal email address. Many of you have read this from me before, but I will stress it again because I still have students who submit a resume to me with an unsuitable email address. An employer doesn’t want to hire sexycarebear@… it is unprofessional and creates doubt in the employer’s mind about how you will represent the company.
- Disconnected phone numbers. This is probably the number one way to miss an interview opportunity. Even though I have attended career fairs for many years, it is still shocking to see how many people hand out resumes with incorrect phone numbers. Recruiters will not track you down; you must make it easy for them to contact you. If you don’t have a valid phone number, or didn’t update your resume, regardless of your very good reason, your resume will likely hit the recycling bin.
- Spelling and grammar errors. This is the number one pet peeve of most recruiters. Spell check your document and have a minimum of three friends proofread it. Then reread your resume before you hand it out – every time. Your resume is a reflection of you. Typos and grammar errors send the message that you don’t have a solid command of the English language, you lack communication skills, or you just don’t care enough to do your very best. Slow down, take your time with it and avoid having your resume sent to the bottom of the stack.
- Too much personal information. Religious statements or affiliations, personal hobbies, birth date, social security number, number of children, or marital status are never expected or appropriate on a resume. Recruiters want to see a resume with information that shows your work history and skills, not what you like to do in your free time. Additionally, too much personal information can lead to discrimination (see point one above) and can cause an interviewer to halt the interview process. This is one time where less is more if you want to stay in the running.
Creating a streamlined, effective resume is like creating a work of art; it takes patience and time but is worth the effort. Finding a job is a full time job, so don’t waste a single minute by sending a resume that is anything less than perfect.