When it comes to sending out your resume for a job opening, you want to ensure you stand out to the hiring manager. But standing out has both a positive and a negative side, and the negative will land your resume in the recycling bin – fast.
While most job seekers understand a strong resume will get them through the door, there are still many overlooked areas when it comes to the actual creation of the document. From simple grammatical errors to poor formatting, creating a knockout resume isn’t always an easy task.
With just six seconds or less for a hiring manager to determine your fate, knowing what not to include on your resume is certain to help you get hired. Here are 10 mistakes that are sure to land your resume in the recycling bin:
1. Poor Formatting. Looks definitely matter when it comes to your resume. Nothing will get your resume disposed faster than a resume lacking attention to formatting. All job seekers, regardless of career field, should understand the importance of white space on their resume. Focus on creating a document that isn’t just a solid block of text. Enhance your formatting capabilities by using tabs for indents, bulleted lists, and smart sectioning.
2. An Objective Statement. This is just one outdated element of a resume. Many job seekers feel their objective statement adds direction and purpose to their resume, but the opposite is actually taking place. This statement actually weakens your resume due to its “all-about-me” nature. Rather than wasting significant space to speak solely about yourself, consider dropping it altogether and creating a short statement (often called a professional profile) explaining the value you’ll bring if hired.
3. A Reference Statement. Not only are your references condemned from your resume, but also the awkward “references upon request” statement. Don’t waste space for redundancy on such an important document. If a hiring manager wants to reach out to your references, they will be sure to ask you for names and contact information at the appropriate time.
4. No Skills Section. Your resume isn’t just a place for details on your previous employment experiences; it’s also a place to share your skills. Clearly showcasing your skills to your potential employer can make or break your chance at landing a position. Many hiring managers are looking for very specific skill sets. Without properly displaying what you have to offer, you’re likely to miss out on an opportunity.
5. Using “I” or “Me”. A first-person direction on your resume is likely to leave you sounding a bit self-absorbed to potential employers. Instead, describe your expertise and skills in a more employer-focused way. Remember SAR: Situation, Action, Results.
6. Using a Template. While not the worst thing you can do to your resume, be cautious of using templates. Many hiring managers are turned off to the idea of repeatedly seeing the same type of resume. Rather than opting for an exact template, try to turn your resume into your own unique document by switching a few things up.
7. Telling Tall Tales. There are numerous examples of the misfortunes of those who have lied on their resume but even a tiny fib can get you into trouble. While your resume’s storytelling abilities are ultimately up to you, use smart ethical judgment when it comes to stretching the truth. Not telling the truth should never even enter your mind when it comes to landing your next job.
8. Mediocrity. The current job climate is competitive, and standing out is an absolute must for all job seekers. There’s no set way for candidates to stand out, but simply sending out a mediocre resume isn’t going to get you in the door. Continually seek out new ways to impress employers with the way you display your expertise on your resume.
9. Lack of Attention to Detail. Does your resume lack important information or showcase a few errors? Simple mistakes just aren’t acceptable during the hiring process. Small errors are likely to present you as not being completely serious about the position.
10. Forgetting to Customize. Too many job seekers take a quantity versus quality approach to their job search. Rather than only creating stellar resumes for the position they’re most qualified for, they end up applying to every position with a generalized mediocre resume. Truly impressing a potential employer means only applying to the position you’re an accurate match for, as well as customizing your resume to each position.
Getting hired takes motivation, patience, and most importantly, an awesome resume. Avoiding these missteps will be sure to save your resume from the recycling bin.
Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.