Sunday, August 21, 2016

5 Simple Resume Mistakes You Can Avoid Now

Whether you are looking for an internship or full time job, your resume is the connection between you and the hiring manager that will create the opportunity to interview. In previous articles, I discussed ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd, and while standing out is key, making sure you don't stand out for the "wrong" reason is even more important to your credibility. For the most part, employers only know what they see about you in a cover letter and resume, and soon after, your social media footprint is the doorway to discovering more about who you are. 

Simple mistakes can make you appear inept, unorganized, and even incompetent. Simple practices can go a long way to catching small errors that can have a big impact on whether you get a call back. Contemplate utilizing your connections and resources to help minimize or eliminate any barriers to getting your resume in front of hiring managers:

  • Seek out those in your connections who are employed at the company for advice on the culture to ensure your messaging aligns. 
  • Use key words from the job description in your resume to increase your chances of an applicant tracking system to flag your information as a possible match. 

  • Ultimately a human will read your resume so you should objectively review it as a hiring manager would to critically assess your information.  If you find areas that look questionable, most likely others will too.

    • Before submitting for the position, enlist the help of a mentor to not only review your resume but also run a mock interview session so you work through the process of engaging the recruiter and/or hiring manager.

    When applying for any opportunity that requires a resume, make sure you double check yours for any of these mistakes: 

    5 Simple Mistakes To Avoid On Your Resume

    1) Not including your LinkedIn Profile or Github Project URL. Whether you are a business or technical professional, neglecting to share additional information about yourself is a huge missed opportunity. Your profile on professional or technical platforms should complement your resume and provide the opportunity for employers to observe your capabilities.

    2) Not including your graduation date. Omitting this key piece of information can be a simple mistake or an intentional decision but only makes one question why. If there is a concern about your education, talk with a career coach for how you can position yourself to engage employers.

    3) Not organizing or labeling your skills correctly. Your skills are why you are being hired for the job, and clearing indicating the areas where you are proficient is integral to getting an interview. How you list your skills should be in descending order from proficiency to familiarity. While an employer will ascertain your level of experience from your resume in totality, remove the doubt by highlighting the skills you excel in.

    4) Not updating your professional summary or objective for the job you are applying for. Using the professional summary in lieu of an objective is definitely recommended but it is up to you to determine what you want to communicate to your potential employer. Most people make the mistake of not aligning their summary or objective to the job posting and this can cause your resume to get overlooked.

    5) Not understanding the industry jargon or the culture for a specific role. It's important to be able to talk the talk in certain industries and roles to be effective. There are also other simple errors that can make it clear you don't know the culture. For instance, if you are applying for a technical role, listing "typing" as one of your skills will definitely raise a flag about your competence or critical thinking. Unless you are applying for a job where this skill is specifically requested, save the real estate on your resume.

    In addition, your resume design, word choice, and logical flow of information for the industry you are targeting are all important and say a lot about you personally. If someone else creates your resume, make sure they balance the essence of who you are with the product they are creating for you.

    If you are a student looking to land your first internship or job, it's important to clearly illustrate the value you can provide to potential employers. Showcasing leadership skills on projects or in volunteer roles can give insight into your abilities and beat out others who neglect to include this information.

    If your resume is an extension of you, then what are you really telling potential employers about who you are?

    Stacey Rivers is an author, mom, wife and IT Talent Professional. Find her current book "50 Essential Tips To Getting & Keeping The Right Job" on Amazon.