10 Common Mistakes To Avoid In A Resume

What is that one skill we all need to succeed in a dramatically changed environment? It is adaptability. Covid offered an opportunity to reinvent and we need to ensure that we adapt to the changed environment. When it comes to job search I have come across thousands of Resumes which are still full of common mistakes and these would cost job seekers precious interview calls. Which means most job aspirants have not adapted and rewritten their resume as per the need of the recruiters.  The learning gathered by me over years by reading hundreds of Resumes and dealing with employers’ feedback tells me that a well-developed Resume does play a critical role in influencing the decision of shortlisting you or not. And now with the pandemic around, the competition from applicants for limited number of jobs has increased.

Let me list down the 10 common mistakes to avoid while writing a resume:

1] Over 2 pages:

A Resume has to entice a prospective employer to meet you. It is important to pay attention to all critical points which present you as a solution provider and condense them into 2 pages without losing the essence.

2] Ignoring the beginning:

Worldwide research has proven that a prospective recruiter spends not more than 6-9 seconds to decide whether to read the rest of the Resume or not. If the initial content of your resume is not engaging enough, you lose the opportunity of being called for a meeting. (For example residence address need not be mentioned at the top of the first page as it wastes precious space. It should be at the bottom of the 2nd page and there is no need to write the POSTAL address; just city and suburb should suffice).

3] Forgetting YOU:

Most Resumes are typically written in a traditional format. Chronological, functional and so on. While it remains acceptable, YOU as an individual brand is at times lost. You need to write it in a story telling (outcomes and not responsibilities) format using a conversational tone.

4] Not including transferable skills:

The transferable skills like adaptability, learning ability, communication skills through technology led platforms are all very important in this current changed environment. You cannot have a resume which does not include your transferable skills.

5] Words are ‘copy paste’:

It is common experience that it gets difficult to differentiate between the resume of candidate A vs candidate B. So why would a reader would be compelled to meet you? Your language and vocabulary has to find the connect with the reader’s need (pain point of the job).

6] Spelling errors:

It creates a negative impression about an individual and he/she is perceived to be possessing a careless attitude. It is a big put off because it gives a feeling to the reader that this is how the candidate would approach his/her work. Remember the first impression is the last impression.

7] Outdated information:

If you have 15 years work experience, there is no need to elaborate what your achievements were as a college student. And now with such a changed environment due to the pandemic, things are changing so very fast that what was relevant yesterday does not hold good today. So only elaborating the learning from the past 7-10 years is good enough.

8] Focusing on job responsibilities and not achievements:

You are going to be hired for what you achieved and not what you were responsible for. So there is no point in elaborating job responsibilities (which is conveyed from your job title). Just a brief one liner is enough. Then focus on sharing your stories of successful outcomes.

9] Tampering with Tenure:

Many times candidates feel that either knocking off a tenure completely or tampering with the period is required as the background was irrelevant. Unless it was just a very short tenure like less than a month, build a story around your lessons learnt and mention it. Because if discovered at a later stage (after you are employed), it becomes an unrepairable damage to your credibility which is not worth affecting at any cost.

10] Not tweaking and customising:

As they say one size does not fit all. Studying the pain point of the prospective employer and then customising your resume adds power to it and makes it compelling for the recruiter to call you.

Avoid these bloopers and you are well on your way to attend an interview. In case you need help in developing a powerful 2 pager resume which attracts recruiters, please feel free to write to me on sarabjeet@aspirationjobs.com and our team of experienced writers will develop it for you.


Sarabjeet Sachar