Designing an eye-catching resume is one of the most important steps you will take in your search for employment. However, balancing information and layout is important. The idea is to present a visually appealing, easy-to-read picture of your skills and experience.
To help you do this, here are six common mistakes you should avoid when developing your resume.
DON’T Be Artistic
Use one standard typeface (no mixing) in traditional 10 to 12 point font size. You can go as large as 14 point for headings, but no larger. Avoid script or other showy typefaces as well as paper with busy backgrounds, wild colors or borders, unless your goal is to give the reader a headache. Use plain, soft colors such as cream, white or even pale gray. And by all means do not include your photo.
DON’T Focus Only on Responsibilities
Don’t just put together a long, boring list of things you’ve done, especially if every job you’ve held has been similar in content. Kick it up a notch (thank you, Emeril) by creatively expressing how your responsibilities were important to the success of the department or company. Think about what your accomplishments have been, even if you don’t think you’ve accomplished anything. Use action words to show that you took action.
Instead of just saying, “Handled customer service,” say, “Established effective business relationships with new and existing customers by quickly analyzing problems and developing solutions.”
DON’T Use Pronouns and Articles
Many people write resumes using “I” to describe their responsibilities. Some even take it a step further and write the resume from a third person point of view. In this case they use “he” as if describing a close friend or business associate. Whatever you do, don’t use “I”, “me”, or “he/she” in your resume. In addition, avoid articles like “a”, “an” and “the”.
Instead of saying, “I was responsible for developing and implementing a new sales program that increased our revenue by $50,000 annually.” Say, “Developed and implemented new sales program resulting in $50,000 annual revenue increase.”
DON’T List Irrelevant Non-Business Information
The only information that should be on your resume should be information that relates to your ability to perform the job. Leave off hobbies, memberships in non-business organizations, personal data (e.g. marital status, date of birth) and anything else that doesn’t apply to the position.
In addition, limit education to relevant, college-level courses. Don’t include high school or specialty training (i.e. cosmetology school) unless it relates to the job or explains a gap in employment.
DON’T Forget to Proofread
Typos are a dead giveaway that you either have no attention to detail or don’t know how to spell. Either way, it’s the wrong message to send. Make sure to proofread your resume (and cover letter) before sending it. And just to be sure, use spell check and have a friend or family member review it.
DON’T Ramble On
Less is more. Limiting your resume to one or two pages is still the standard. Resist the temptation to describe everything you’ve done, especially if it doesn’t apply to the current opportunity. However, do not try to cram too much information onto only one piece of paper. That means: find balance. Communicate all pertinent information while still being mindful of the reader’s time.
On the other hand, do not leave off vital information that relates to the position for which you are applying. Instead, consider adapting your resume according to the requirements of the position. This may mean you have more then one resume, each with a different career slant or industry focus.