Top Resume/CV Mistakes
It’s easy to make mistakes on your resume/CV and very difficult to repair the damage once an employer has your resume/CV. Here are the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
- Typos and Grammatical Errors
Your resume/CV needs to be perfect from a grammatical standpoint. If it isn’t, employers will read between the lines and draw not-so-flattering conclusions about you.
- Lack of Specifics
Employers need to understand what you’ve done and accomplished. Take the following for example:
- Worked with employees in a restaurant setting
- Recruited, hired, trained, and supervised more than 20 employees in a restaurant resulting in $2 million in annual sale
Both of these phrases could describe the same person, but clearly the second one’s details and specifics will more likely grab an employer’s attention.
- Attempting One Size Fits All
Whenever you try to develop a one-size-fits-all resume/CV to send to all employers, you almost always end up with a resume/CV employers will toss in the recycle bin. Employers want you to write a resume/CV specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.
- Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments
It’s easy to slip into a mode where you simply start listing job duties on your resume/CV. For example:
- Attended group meetings and recorded minutes
- Worked with children in a daycare setting
- Updated departmental files
Employers, however, don’t care so much about what you’ve done as what you’ve accomplished in your various activities. They’re looking for statements more like these:
- Used laptop computer to record weekly meeting minutes and compiled them in a Microsoft Word-based file for future organizations reference.
- Developed three daily activities for preschool-age children and prepared them for a 10-minute holiday program performance.
- Reorganized 10 years’ worth of unwieldy files to make them easily accessible to department members.
- No Action Verbs
Avoid using phrases like “responsible for.” Instead, use action verbs: Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk in order to serve 4,000 students and staff.”
- Leaving Off Important Information
You may be tempted, for example, to eliminate mention of the jobs you’ve taken to earn extra money for school. Typically, however, the soft skills you’ve gained from these experiences (e.g., work ethic, time management) are more important to employers than you might think.
- Visually Too Busy
If your resume/CV is wall-to-wall text featuring five different fonts, it will most likely give the employer a headache. So show your resume/CV to several other people (including Career Services!) before sending it out.
- Incorrect Contact Information
Double check even the most minute, taken-for-granted details – sooner rather than later.