5 Resume Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Job Search

Your resume may be perfect in almost every way, but if you’re committing any of these small blunders, you could be undermining the strength of your message. Don’t make a statement about yourself in a way that undermines the truth of that statement (for example, misspelling the phrase “I’m a terrific speller!”) And try not to make self-defeating moves like the ones below.

1. “Strong communicators” are easy to recognize.

If you’re selling yourself as a strong communicator, make sure the actual organization, presentation and structure of your resume back up this claim. Don’t let messy phrases and confusing claims creep into your document. And remember that great communicators write well, but they don’t stop there; they’re also comfortable with the phone, they send calm, confident emails, and when they deliver an important message, they follow up without shyness or hesitation.

2. Don’t let your statements sound misleading.

There’s a fine line between outright lying on a resume and stating a claim in a vague way that’s open to more than one interpretation. If you did something, you did it. And if you didn’t, then it doesn’t belong on your resume. Period. Don’t “suggest” that you accomplished a major victory or won an award single handedly if you were actually part of a large team. Employers can sense when they’re being hustled, and they don’t like it. 

3. Don’t be clever with your employment dates.

Don’t cleverly “adjust” your employment dates (for example, presenting a two-week tenure from December to January so it looks like a job you held for two years). Make sure every previous position is presented in the same way; state your tenure in years, months, or exact calendar dates, but whichever format you choose, be consistent. And don’t worry: Managers aren’t as skeptical of resume gaps as we’re often led to believe. Most hiring managers won’t care about a six-month job search after an impersonal layoff—but they WILL care about a resume that seems sneaky, insecure, or manipulative.

4. Don’t let your job titles undersell you.

Yes, you were technically an “Associate” for three years, and of course this will be the job title you use in your work history section. But if you actually managed twenty people, handled a seven figure budget, signed off on major company decisions, or saved lives while you held this role, make this clear to your readers. Set the record straight; don’t let your job titles speak for you if they send the wrong message or undersell your abilities. 

5. Don’t scatterbomb.

Your resume is not designed to tell readers that you’re a terrific person. It’s designed to tell readers that you’re a perfect match for a very specific position within this company. Don’t confuse impressive accomplishments and statements with relevant ones. Generic victories, like the marathon you ran or the 4.0 GPA you earned in college, won’t support your message as much as you might believe. These things are nice, but managers would rather discuss how your skills and accomplishments line up with their specific needs.  

Use Your Resume to Set You Apart In a Good Way

Your resume should send a clear and consistent message that delivers volumes of information in short, concise statements. Visit LiveCareer and explore the tools and resources on the site for more information. 

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