5 Worst Resume Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Even if you feel you are doing a good job of writing your resume, it is essential to make sure there are no mistakes in your document, or you can hurt your chances of finding a job.

The most challenging part of creating a resume is usually deciding what information should be included, and what should go into each section. In some cases, you may want to list every skill you have ever used, while other sections might require more focus depending on where you are applying. 

Here are five common mistakes people make when writing their resumes and how to fix them:

Formatting Your Resume Incorrectly

Just because you have a template doesn’t mean you must follow it blindly. Remember that your resume is a living document and should be updated regularly as your skills and experience grow. So if there’s an element of your resume that you haven’t engaged within six months or more, consider removing it from your resume altogether. This way, you don’t clutter up space with something irrelevant, and employers will appreciate how clean and streamlined your resume looks.

Not Carefully Proofreading Your Resume

It is easy to get so caught up in the process of reviewing your resume that you miss simple mistakes like spelling and grammatical errors. This not only looks unprofessional, but it also gives potential employers a reason to immediately pass over you as a candidate in a sea of other applicants. In fact, some employers have systems that automatically scan resumes for typos and other formatting mistakes. If you don’t proofread your resume, it could doom your application before a human can look at it. Be sure you give your resume a thorough review (and ask someone else for another opinion) before sending it off!

Including Too Much or Too Little Information

If you’re a recent graduate, it’s common for your resume to have too little experience. On the other hand, if you’ve been working for a few years, it might be jam-packed with jobs and responsibilities that could overwhelm potential employers. Either way, try to strike a balance: Include enough information about your work history so that an employer can see how well you can perform in their workplace—but don’t get so detailed that you risk being branded as overqualified.

Failing to Tailor Your Resume to the Job You’re Applying For

When you’re writing a resume, it’s important to remember that each application should be somewhat unique. Companies want to build their teams with well-rounded employees, so make sure your resume is geared toward not just yourself but also what you can do for a company and how you can benefit them. For example, if you have experience in sales or customer service, highlight those skills on your resume—and don’t forget to include any awards or accolades you’ve received at work. This way, when a hiring manager sees your experience and accomplishments, they’ll get excited about bringing you on board!

Forgetting to Bring a Copy of Your Resume to the Interview

Employers don’t always accept your emailed resume; even if they do, they may request a hard copy on the spot during your interview, even in today’s highly digital world. If you don’t have one handy, you could lose out on an opportunity because you will appear unprepared. Furthermore, some employers will ask to see a copy of your resume as part of their application process—so make sure you bring multiple copies with you when interviewing for jobs. It’s also crucial that your resume is in tip-top shape before walking into any interview; take time beforehand to proofread it thoroughly and make sure all contact information is up-to-date.

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Job Hunting With A Gap In Your Resume

Searching for a new job can be stressful even in the best circumstances, but if you have an employment gap on your resume you may be worried that this will put you at a disadvantage. While resume gaps are not uncommon, people believe that there is a stigma associated with them that will make it harder for them to find a job in the future. 

However, a gap on your resume does not have to spell disaster as long as you take the right steps to highlight your experience positively. To help give you the best chance of landing your dream job, here are a few tips for job hunting with a gap in your resume. 

Take Time to Polish Your Resume

If you are searching for a new job but you have gaps in your resume, you should take some time to polish your resume and make sure that it works in your favor. If you have multiple gaps in your resume, the typical chronological resume format may not work well for you. Instead, consider adopting a hybrid resume format where you start your resume by listing a summary of your qualifications and key competencies that highlights your experience for the position you are applying for. You can then follow this will a list of your work experience. 

If you went through a period where you were job hopping, it may be to your advantage to delete certain jobs from your resume. As a general rule, it is okay to omit positions from your resume that lasted less than three months, as this will help streamline your resume. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to only include the most recent and relevant job experiences so that their resume does not become unnecessarily long. Having a polished resume that highlights your experience can help you stand out to recruiters even if you have gaps in your employment history. 

Prepare to Explain Your Resume Gaps

Of course, if it is obvious to recruiters that there are significant gaps in your resume, they may bring it up in an interview. You should be prepared to answer these questions as honestly as possible. You don’t want it to look like you are hiding anything, as this could do more damage in the long run. The fact is that employers are more understanding than ever about resume gaps, particularly since many people were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also frame gaps in your resume in a positive light by highlighting things you did during that time such as taking care of a loved one, educating your kids, or taking training courses to further your career.   

Continue to Build Skills Between Jobs  

If you are currently between jobs, the best way to deal with your current gap in employment is to do things to fill the gap in your resume. While you can’t do anything about past gaps in your resume, you can use the time you have now to gain experience that you can highlight on your resume. For instance, volunteering, freelancing, or earning a certificate online are all things that you can do to show that you were productive between jobs and continued to take steps to further your career. Use this time to your advantage.

Try to Maintain a Positive Outlook

If you are looking for a new job but you have gaps in your resume, the most important thing that you should do is try to remain positive. The fact is that most resume gaps aren’t deal breakers for employers, and being in the right mindset can help you frame gaps in a positive light when you start interviewing for jobs. Additionally, if you are currently unemployed, you can use the time you have between jobs to gain new skills and experience that will actually help you stand out to employers.

Learn more about steps that you should take when job hunting with gaps in your resume by joining the CashFurther community. There, you can chat with like-minded people to learn about steps that you can take to improve your personal finances.