Seven worst resume mistakes to avoid

This article has been authored by Adrian Tan a seasoned recruitment strategist, it was featured on his blog in April 2013. This is one of those articles that doesn’t get old with with time instead gets more relevant by each passing day, as we compete for the time a recruiter spends on our resume.

More often than not, a company’s first impression of you comes in the form of a resume, a simple piece of paper that includes your work and educational history, typically on one to two pages. And this is not just in Singapore.

With such limited space to convey such important information, it pays to make sure you get it right the first time.

In our screening of hundreds of job seekers per week over the past nine years, we have identified seven of the most common mistakes people make when writing their resumes. While avoiding these mistakes won’t automatically win you the job of your choice, it will make sure you are on the right track

Mistake #1: Unprofessional/Outdated/Missing Photo

In the era of infographics, anything not presented aesthetically appealing falls short. Don’t be deceived by the so-called experts who deemed it as encouraging unfair employment. That is their practise back in the west. Asians are still a superficial bunch.

Mistake #2: Unreasonable Salary Expectations

Just because your investment banking friend got a 50% pay increment doesn’t mean you go around asking for the same percentage. Different industry comes with different parameters, and you may have forgotten your friend’s 50% increment comes with wearing 3 hats and a 16 hour work day.

Mistake #3: Lapse In Work History

So the last job was from Jan 2008 to Dec 2009. And the current job was from Jan 2009 to…. What the? This is the worst embellishment/oversight one can commit. If one can be so careless over a two pages document, the repercussion when hired would be even greater.

Mistake #4: Spelling/Typo Mistakes

Your résumé is your one chance to make a first impression. A typo or misspelled word can lead an employer to believe that you would not be a careful, detail-oriented employee. Spell-check software is not enough, since sentences like “Managing Steak Holders” would get the green light. Ask several people to proofread your résumé to be sure that it is free of typos and grammatical errors.

Mistake #5: One Liner Job Description

A full-time job that occupies forty four hours a week could not possibly be encapsulated with a single sentence. It reflects the shallowness of work actually rendered over the course of your past employment. And depth will show that you are a master of your trade.

Mistake #6: Hard-To-Accept Reason For Leaving

  • My manager was an idiot.
  • I had been late a lot and they let me go.
  • You pay more money.

Responses like this paint a very negative picture of you. Regardless of how you left your old job, you need to convince your new employer that you are 100% committed to them and if you get the job you won’t potentially cause problems later on.

Mistake #7: Inconsistent Font types/Poor Alignments

While the most important part of your resume is the content, there is no question that the document’s overall look and feel is also important. Illogical order, disorganization, and inconsistent format make your resume difficult to read. Use consistent formatting for headings and bullet points. It will prevent readers from thinking you copy-and-paste your resume.

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