A resume (also called Curriculum vitae CV) is a document used and created by a person to present their background, skills, and accomplishments often to secure new employment (Wikipedia). Your resume is all an employer has to get a first impression of you. One mistake can easily damage your chances of getting an interview for your dream job. Although, just one mistake may not cause an instant disqualification, but a combination of several mistakes may stop you from being short-listed.
1. One size does not fit all: Learn to tailor your CV for target employers, don’t assume that one resume will work for everybody, Target your CV to appeal individually to a specific employer or for specific vacancies that you are applying to. This is because when a prospective employer reads your CV, the main thing they want to find out is if you can handle the job or not. If your resume does not include information as to the skills and knowledge that your target employers are looking for, you won’t be given the opportunity-it doesn’t matter how well written your CV is. Take time out to do a lot of research before applying , check what the employers are looking for and then make sure that you highlight those requirements on your resume.
2. Outrageous, unproven statements: “ Best marketer in Nigeria” ,” Most successful Human Resource manager in the industry”. Adding these sort of things to your CV just looks embarrassing in the real world as they are impossible to prove and look very factual. Use facts and real examples of your previous successes to prove your worth to employers whilst retaining the ‘humble factor’.
3. Absurd email addresses: Having an email address like “ [email protected]” when you are trying to impress an employer just makes you seem silly and reduces your credibility. It looks highly unprofessional and the prospective employer will end up questioning your judgment and general work ethics. If you have an email address that seemed like it was one of the “baddest” at the time, you should consider creating a new one for professional reasons or to aid your job hunting as the former may just leave you tagged “unserious”.
4. Unnecessarily long paragraphs: Imagine you are an employer with thousands of CV to go through and you see lengthy unbroken paragraphs, it can be extremely discouraging. Instead of making your employer frustrated just by looking at your resume because of the long and messy texts, why not break the information into short paragraphs. This way they can be able to scan through the CV and easily pin-point the exact information they are looking for.
5. Lack of noticeable impact: While outlining your skills and abilities can be great and a nice touch to your CV, it is great to show what positive impacts these skills can have on your employer. Don’t simply state what you can do, go on to explain the results of your skills when they are applied. This helps to emphasize your impact.
6. Keyword stuffing: There is information about CV’s passing through an “Automated computer CV scanning system” before it reaches a human viewer. The work of these systems is to search the resume for relevant key words that are related to the opening and then filter out any CVs that don’t contain the words that they need. This ensures that only relevant CVs reach the employer. Because of this process, many candidates have started to repeatedly stuff keywords into their CVs in an attempt to outsmart the system and get picked out. This may seem like a bright idea, because it might ensure that your CV gets to the hand of your employer, but it is not advisable. This is because it looks unnatural and unpleasant to the eyes of a human viewer, it ruins the writing and hinders the communication of points. Put yourself in the shoes of your employers, if you read a resume that was jam-packed with keywords, will you be impressed? Also , not all companies or organizations use this system to recruit employees, and even the ones that do, do not totally depend on them. Write your CV bearing in mind that it would be reviewed by people, then you can choose to tweak it a little for computer symptoms if need be. But this doesn’t mean you just cram a lot of keywords where they are not needed.
7. Reasons for leaving former place of employment: Employers do not need you to state the reason you left every job on your CV. The focus of your resume should be to attract employers by pointing out your talents and strengths. You can convey the motivation for leaving your current job and joining a new one, but do it briefly. Don’t write an essay about it. This is one of the mistakes people make when writing their CVs because they think it may give them some sort of edge.
8. Fancy fonts: Your CV should be easy for recruiters to read if you want it to be termed “effective”. It might be tempting to use fancy fonts for your CV so it may seem “elegant”. It doesn’t make it elegant, in fact it makes your CV tough to read and your recruiter would not want to dwell on it, instead of getting a headache they could opt for the easy way out and go to the next CV. Example; “Accomplished and driven I.T professional with a proven track record” or “Accomplished and driven I.T professional with a proven track record”. Which of them would seem easier to read? Use a simple font for a professional and easy to read CV and avoid this common resume mistake.
9. Salary requirement: Don’t forget, your CV is to get you to secure job interviews , it doesn’t qualify you for the job automatically and most importantly : money should not be discussed at this stage! Apart from that, if you want to secure the highest possible rate, wait till you are offered money and start from there. Saying the amount you expect to get might be shooting yourself in the leg especially if the money you are asking for is way below the actual amount that you are supposed to get. Making salary demands at an early stage of application can seem sort of forward in terms of job search etiquette and professionalism. Don’t make this mistake, wait until the initial conversation or interview in person before you start talking about money.
10. Lack of detail: One of the most important factors in your CV is your most recent role. After skimming through your CV , most employers will go straight to your current or most recent role and study it in detail. This is because your current role gives an insight of what you are capable of. If you just rush the addition of your job to your CV without including all of your skills and experience, then you are selling yourself short. Dedicate some time to update your CV and put in effort to write about your latest roles, it will help you eventually. The only time employers will let it go is if you just graduated from school or your recent employment is not as relevant as other factors in the CV.
There are a lot of mistakes to avoid when writing your resume which can cause you to not be shortlisted for an interview and these are just a small part of them. Try to avoid these mistakes and if you already made them, remove them before sending your resume to your prospective employer.