With 2017 in the rear view mirror, we decided to put together a list of our 18 favorite resume and job search tips to help you with your job search in the new year. These are some of the most common mistakes we’ve seen on resumes and job applications in the past year:
Update your resume:
Don’t just write a resume and then forget about it, realize it is a work-in-progress and deserves attention. It is critical to update your resume, especially in a tough or competitive market. Make sure you are always presenting yourself in the best way possible, with the most up to date information. Don’t let your resume expire.
Proofread your resume:
Your resume is a marketing tool to show your strengths and skills to potential employers. It is typically the first impression you make, so you want to make sure your resume is as polished and professional as it can be. Unfortunately, there are a number of resume mistakes that tend to trip up even the most diligent of writers. Know the difference between “your” and “you’re” as well as “their” and “they’re” and other common spelling and grammar mistakes.
Right type of resume:
There are 4 different types of resumes. Depending on the type of job you are applying to and your career situation, different resume formats may apply. The four standard types of resumes include:
Make sure you are using the right type of resume for your situation.
Customize your resume:
Once you have a master resume, make sure to customize it to best fit each job you apply for. Each job will have different required skills and priorities, so make sure when you send over your resume, that it’s tailored to highlight your skills for that particular position.
Update your LinkedIn profile:
It’s almost a guarantee that employers will check out your LinkedIn profile. Make sure it is up to date with all your information. Include information about your work and educational history, ask current and former co-workers to write recommendations for you, share relevant content, and write some of your own to highlight your skills and expertise.
One of the most common mistakes is just a sloppy document. If that is how the person represents themselves for something so important, it makes you ask a lot of different questions.
Submit your resume to staffing agencies:
This might sound obvious, but many job seekers don’t think to do this. Most staffing agencies will post their currently available jobs online. But, even if you don’t see a job opportunity of interest, send them your resume anyway. They will keep your resume in their database and search through it when new positions become available. Help recruiters find you!
Content is key:
It is very important to align your content with the language used within the common job descriptions of today. All too often, a candidate will skip the core content, dismissing these attributes of experience as too elementary to the career title they are targeting. Herein lies a disconnect from the Human Resource professional who is tasked with the first pass of screening.
Include approximately 5 bullets under each job showing your responsibilities. The bullets should also include your role in any projects, the tools/technology you worked with and any achievements.
Use a professional email:
Use a professional email address on your resume. “cooldude@” might be fun with your friends, but will turn off a potential employer. Use a professional looking email such as last@. There are many sites such as gmail and yahoo where you can set up a free email address. Also don’t forget to check your spam folder so you don’t miss an email from a potential employer.
Watch your words:
When describing previous experience, include words such as “Built”, “Configured” or “Deployed” instead of “Responsible for”. Indicate if you were a leader or contributor on a project. Also, don’t get too technical. Explain any industry technical terms that a recruiter might find confusing. Be sure to know who’s going to be reading your resume, and tailor it accordingly. Where applicable, also use measurable achievements in your job description.
If you were referred by or are connected with someone the hiring manager knows, that is definitely something you’ll want to mention in your cover letter. Lead in with this as it will help you stand out from other applicants. Before applying, check your LinkedIn to see how you might be connected with someone in the company or even the hiring manager directly.
Many searches are based on keywords. Limiting your resume to 1 page will limit the number of keywords you’ll be able to include. Don’t be afraid to have a 2-page resume. Especially for technical positions, make sure you have a summary section that includes your hardware/software/technical skills.
What do you have to offer?
Many job seekers make the mistake in their resume objective of writing about what they want. You need to tailor it directly to the hiring manager and explain why what you have to offer will meet the needs of the organization.
When describing previous job roles, a hiring manager wants to see what you have accomplished more than just a listing of what your job duties were, which is a common mistake made on resumes. Numbers stand out on a page, so make sure to quantify your achievements. For example: “reduced production errors by 10%” or “increased number of clients by 25%”.
Tell a compelling story with your resume:
The first person to review your resume, likely a recruiter or HR administrator is going to spend about 6 seconds looking at it before deciding whether to take a closer look at it, or move on to the next one. They have to be able to sell your resume to their hiring manager, and to do so they can tell a compelling story about your resume and why you should be considered for an interview and for the position.
Avoid vague language on your resume:
When looking at your resume, recruiters and hiring managers are trying to get an idea of what kind of experience you have, what you have accomplished in previous job roles, and if you will be a good fit for the position they are trying to fill. With this in mind, it’s important on your resume to clearly describe your work history and avoid vague words and phrases that do nothing but fill up space on your resume.
Overcome looking like a job hopper:
It’s become more common to change jobs and even careers more frequently than in previous generations when it was common to stay with the same employer for several decades. If you should happen to find yourself in a situation where you’ve stayed at each of your last few jobs for less than a year, there are a few things you can do to convince a hiring manager that you’re really interested in a long-term career opportunity:
– Combine jobs
– Take focus away from employment dates
– Use a cover letter to accentuate the positive aspects of your work history
– Consider using a different resume format
We update our blog weekly with new resume, interviewing and job search tips and advice. Subscribe to the right to receive a notification when a new blog post is available. If you’d like us to take a look at your resume for any currently open positions, click the banner below to submit your resume, or search our job board here.