Problems with your resume can get you passed over in favor of other job applicants who have taken the time to format their resumes effectively. Avoid these common resume formatting mistakes to make the best first impression possible on your potential employer.
Writing Too Many Paragraphs
Employers cite writing density, such as writing in paragraphs rather than in bullet-form, as a reason to discard a resume. Using bullet points allows employers to quickly sort through your achievements and skills at a glance, and a page full of information can distract from these important details.
Include at least three bullet points per past job description. Always use a period rather than a semicolon when writing sentences. Additionally, bullets should be used consistently throughout the resume. For example, write a short paragraph for your summary statement as that is the standard, and then use bullets for the remainder of your resume.
One of the most common resume formatting mistakes is writing without a specific focus. Employers only look at resumes for an average of six seconds before discarding them, and resumes that are written for a general job will usually be the first that are tossed aside. Focus your resume by including specific skills you have that meet the demands of the open position. Including this information in your summary statement toward the top of your resume is a great way to catch an employer’s eye.
Listing Job Responsibilities
Future employers will be impressed by what you accomplished at your previous jobs as opposed to you merely fulfilling your duties. Employers want to hire people who are liable to go above and beyond their basic responsibilities. Simply listing what your prior jobs required is one of several common resume formatting mistakes that can give a potential employer the impression that you only think about meeting expectations instead of exceeding them.
Quantify your accomplishments in numbers whenever possible. Including ways in which you’ve helped previous employers save money or time, expanded the business or helped to solve specific problems will show your value.
Hiding Abilities in a Skills Section
Many people include a “Skills” section at the bottom of their resume that includes abilities that are specific to the open position. If you have the skills that are listed in the job posting requirements, highlight them by including them in your summary statement or with your work experiences. Many employers don’t read the entire resume, so it’s important to show your value in the portion that is most often read. You may also elect to put your skills section before your experience.
Not Including Vital Keywords
Because so many resumes and job applications are submitted electronically, employers rely on databases that digitize resumes. The resumes can then be sorted through using specific keywords that are related to the job requirements for vacancies. Most Fortune 1000 companies and many smaller businesses use these technologies to narrow down the field of applicants. When employers use third-party resume-posting sites, more than 90 percent are searched through for vital keywords. Too many people make common resume formatting mistakes when they don’t include keywords and, as a result, have their resumes weeded out.
The keywords that most employers use are nouns that are based on specific skills, job titles, certifications, technological terms and names of degrees. Make your resume succinct, specifically list your skills and include nouns that are often used in job postings to ensure your resume makes it through the keyword searches.
Avoid these resume formatting mistakes so that hiring managers will take notice of you. For more tips, you may find the information at LiveCareer helpful.