I’ve seen MANY job-killing resume mistakes as a career coach. And in some cases, these common resume mistakes are so bad… that they prevent otherwise qualified candidates from even getting their foot in the door. Unfortunately, many job seekers don’t realize that their resume is hurting them. And strangely enough, it’s usually not because of a lack of experience or skills. It’s often because of resume mistakes that are actually quite easy to avoid.
In this blog post, I’m going to share four of the most common resume mistakes that I see. And I’ll show you how to avoid them so you can improve your chances of landing the job that you want.
Common Resume Mistakes – The Four To Absolutely Avoid
1. Don’t add an “Objective” section
The “common knowledge” of resume-writing says you should add an “Objective” section to your resume. The thinking is that this section will help focus your resume and tell the employer what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, this “common knowledge” is wrong. In fact, adding an Objective section to your resume can actually hurt your chances of getting an interview.
Here’s why: Most employers already know what they’re looking for in a candidate. They don’t need you to tell them. And in many cases, an Objective section can actually do more harm than good. The major problem is that it’s simply redundant. The rest of your resume should already be focused on the specific job that you’re applying for. There’s no need to reiterate this in an Objective section.
The simple solution here is to ditch the Objective section and use that space to share more information about your skills, experience, and especially your accomplishments instead. That will highlight your strengths and make your resume even stronger than before.
2. Don’t use a “Sidebar”
A sidebar is a common resume format that places your contact information, skills, and other important details in a separate column on the left or right side of your resume. Unfortunately, this format can actually hurt your chances of getting an interview.
The problem is any applicant tracking systems (the software that many employers use to scan and sort resumes) often have trouble reading sidebar formats. As a result, your resume may not be properly parsed and could be given a lower ranking than it deserves.
Instead, just avoid using a sidebar format and stick with a more traditional resume layout. That way, you can be sure that your resume will be properly read and ranked by any applicant tracking system.
3. Don’t share your ENTIRE work history
Another common resume mistake is sharing your entire work history, regardless of relevance. The idea here is that you should include everything to show the employer that you have a long and steady work history. Unfortunately, this is also wrong.
Including your entire work history on your resume can actually hurt your chances of getting an interview. The reason is that it dilutes the focus of your resume and makes it harder for the employer to see your relevant experience. Not to mention, it also makes your resume much longer than it needs to be.
A better solution is to only include your most relevant work experience. And if you’re worried about gaps in your employment history, there are other ways to address this issue (such as using a functional resume format).
4. Don’t focus on past responsibilities
Finally, many job seekers make the mistake of focusing too much on their past responsibilities in their resume. They include long lists of everything they’ve ever done in their previous roles. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t do much to sell your skills and experience to an employer. On the contrary, it actually makes your resume needlessly wordy and even a bit boring to read.
A stronger option is to focus on your accomplishments instead. This means highlighting specific results, numbers, and measurements that demonstrate the impact you’ve made in your previous roles. This is the best way to show an employer what you’re truly capable of and should be a major focus of your resume. What’s great is that this approach also allows you to make your resume much shorter and more focused, which is always a plus in the eyes of an employer.
Conclusion For Common Resume Mistakes
Avoiding these four common resume mistakes will help to ensure that your resume is as effective as possible. Want to see which resume mistakes you’re most guilty of? Take my free Resume Mistakes Quiz and get a quick report that will show you!
Good luck! And enjoy!