Fair or otherwise, managers who know your age will be looking for these little goofs and stumbles—whether you’re an entry-level or baby boomer job seeker. But if they don’t see them, you’ll be in the clear and on your way to the next round.
Look out for these common first-time mistakes:
1. Weak command of the language. So you weren’t an English major. But that shouldn’t matter, because you’re applying for a job in finance…right? Wrong. It does matter—and it matters a lot. Out of twenty entry-level resumes your managers will review for an open position, fifteen of them will struggle with basic writing, word choice, and language skills. Place yourself among the five that remain when these fifteen are sent to the trash.
2. Excess fluff. Of course you don’t have a long work history yet. You’re only 22. How can you have more than a page of professional experience to your credit? But unless they started working at the age of seven, most of your competitors will be facing the same issue. Don’t do what many of them do and try to hide this fact with fluff and nonsense. Don’t call yourself a “highly-motivated, hard-charging, game-changing go-getter.” These words apply to everyone. Focus on specific details that apply only to you.
3. Transparent inexperience. Nobody should ever spin the truth on a resume, but this is especially important for first-time job seekers. Why? Because they lack the experience to know what their reviewers have and have not seen before. Clichés and buzzwords sound fresh in the ears of new graduates, exaggerations seem impossible to verify, employment dates seem easy to fudge or omit, and job responsibilities seem easy to overstate. Be careful: These moves are more visible than you may realize.
Baby boomers should look out for these deal-breaking slip-ups:
1. Pompous, jargon-filled, and overblown language. This is especially problematic for older job seekers who haven’t been on the market in decades. If you haven’t searched for a job in ages, read some sample resumes before you draft your own so you can understand how things have changed.
2. Signs of inflexibility. If you don’t trust or don’t like working for managers who are younger than you, try not to let this show in your resume.
3. Signs of entitlement. This can be a serious problem for older job seekers. Just because you held seniority with your last employer doesn’t mean you’ll be able to walk into your next position despite language problems, grammar problems, or formatting problems in your resume. Older employees often believe that communication skill and social savvy shouldn’t matter if they’re outweighed by experience and technical knowledge. This just isn’t the case.
4. Evidence of resistance to technology. If your resume looks like it was created on a typewriter, reviewers will have a hard time keeping your age out of their decision-making process. Use LiveCareer’s award-winning Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder to give your resume every advantage in a sleek, fast-moving, technology-obsessed marketplace.