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Interview Prep Tips

Avoidable Resume Mistakes

Looking for a job, applying, and interviewing can be a daunting process. You’re likely to apply to dozens of positions, and even if you’re among the most qualified, you still have to make a good impression in a few short paragraphs with your resume. So stay clear of these avoidable resume mistakes!

The average recruiter spends six seconds scanning a resume before deciding it’s worth reading. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure yours is in tip-top shape and be ready for the interview process. 

A resume needs the right amount of information — not too much, and not too little. It should leave the reader wanting more — hopefully leading to a job interview.

As you’re applying for jobs, here are some tips to help you avoid resume mistakes that can turn off recruiters and keep yours at the top of the pile. Then, Voomer will help you ensure you’re ready to ace the interview process that your resume helps you land.

Contact Information

There’s no need to mention your full address on the resume. Only city and state are enough for recruiters to ascertain your location.

Don’t forget to add a professional email address and a working cellphone number.

Unless you’re targeting an artsy industry, don’t use graphics-heavy templates. They confuse readers — both humans and automated resume readers, commonly known as ATS.

Resume Sections

A resume has four main sections: executive summary, experience, education, and skills and interests.

Executive summary

Many job seekers are missing the biggest piece of the resume puzzle: the executive summary. This is a short paragraph in your resume that summarizes your value to a potential employer.

Do you remember the last time you read a book with a boring first page? Did you read the rest carefully, or did you skim it? The same thing happens when a recruiter reads resumes. If the first portion doesn’t grab them, the rest will likely be skipped over.

The executive summary shouldn’t be a block of text stating how or why you’re in a certain field. It should be two lines maximum. One line summarizing your career so far, and the second line stating what you want for the future. For example, ”I have 10 years of experience in a wide array of sales roles within the automotive industry. I believe I have the skills required for the next step in my career — a sales management role.”

Experience

The experience section of a resume is a key part of getting hired. But it can also be difficult to write. You want to highlight the past jobs you’ve held, but how can you explain the impact you made? Coming up with specific examples is the key to writing a great experience section.

Many job seekers have resumes that read like job descriptions because they are, quite simply, a collection of responsibilities. If you catch yourself writing “responsible for” anywhere, delete it.

Your resume should include quantifiable accomplishments and the positive results of your day-to-day work. 

For example, instead of:

  • Analyzed financial investments and reported to management.

Write:

  • Improved business competitiveness and leadership view of profitability by presenting insights on investment performance.

To do so, ask yourself the following questions:

  • External-facing result: Did you help acquire new business or improve client relations?
  • Internal-facing result: Did you revamp internal processes like employee hiring, warehouse organization, team collaboration, etc.?
  • Leadership: Did you coach/train/mentor/manage someone?

There are many ways to organize the experience section, but reverse chronological order is the most widely used and accepted. In this order, your most recent job comes first, followed by your second-last job, and so on. Organize your experience in bullet form for easier readability. Three bullet points are generally sufficient for each experience.

Many candidates mistakenly believe they have to mention every single professional experience, no matter how irrelevant or old. Instead, they should only mention the experiences relevant to their target industry.

Education

In your education section, add your degree major and if applicable, minor, name of the institution, and graduation year or anticipated graduation date. If you have a shining academic record, don’t hesitate to include your honors, GPA, and scholarship to impress your future employer.

What if you’re new to the workforce and don’t have much experience yet? Highlight your education section.

If you are starting your career, add in your extracurricular activities.

  • Were you part of any society?
  • Did you participate in notable social events or competitions?
  • Did you play sports?

Again, order this section reverse-chronologically and drop high school if you have an undergraduate degree.

Skills and Interests

Add in any volunteer work. More and more companies are using volunteer work as an indicator of candidate personality and a factor to judge their fit, especially for new graduates. Volunteer work shows that the candidate is more than a job seeker. Volunteerism can also become a vital source of proof of leadership and transferable skills for those without sufficient professional experience.

Add any certifications, courses, languages, etc. This helps the recruiter see your progression and gives the reader a sense of your growth as a professional. Just make sure it’s relevant to the job you’re targeting. For instance, some jobs prefer bilingual applicants due to a role’s responsibilities.

Add relevant hobbies. This is another way to instill personality and humanize a resume. A hiring manager is more likely to remember you as a hiker, guitarist, or dog lover. This typically works best for fresh graduates.

Conclusion

This is a tough time to be job hunting. But don’t let that stop you from pursuing your career goals. The job market will bounce back. After you’ve created a job-winning resume that secures you an interview, are you all set to ace it and land a great position?

Ditch expensive interview coaching services and try Voomer. Voomer is a free tool that provides questions specific to your target company and shares AI-powered but personalized feedback to your answers. Whether you’re preparing for your in-person or video interview, try our services here.

After you’ve written your resume, if you need a hand with your cover letter, we’ve got you covered!

By Patrick Lemouche

Patrick Lemouche is co-founder of Voomer.

A former hiring manager, he is extremely interested in the opportunities created by the intersection of video and hiring.

He is a P&G alumni with an international career that has spanned multiple countries.