Avoid These 5 Resume and Job Application Mistakes

resume tipsBefore the recruiter opens your resume, she queues up classical music in the background, sits down in a cozy armchair, puts her feet up on an ottoman, and reaches for her cup of soothing herbal tea.

Wouldn’t that be nice? In reality, the recruiter is most likely sitting at a brightly lit desk with hundreds of resumes in her database and not enough time to even read most of her emails.

Due to the competitive and fast-paced nature of recruiting, there are a few missteps that can get even the most impressive candidate’s resume tossed in the trash. To increase the chances that your resume is actually read by recruiters and employers, avoid these five common mistakes :

1.     Typos
If anything is misspelled or grammatically incorrect in your cover letter or resume, it will immediately take away any credibility you have as a job candidate.  Check also for the correct spelling of the company you are applying to, because many businesses today use unconventional spellings, such as LinkedIn.

2.     Unprofessional Email Address
It is fine if your friends know you as softballbaby89@gmail.com, but do you really want to use that same email address when applying to jobs? Sign up for a more professional email account that uses your name and simple numbers or professional keywords if necessary. You can then use the professional account to send and receive job correspondence without worrying that a recruiter might accidentally see your strange Gmail chat status.

3.     Inability to Follow Directions
Pay attention to the application instructions. If a company asks for a Word document and you usually send PDFs, then take the time to convert and send a Word file instead. Also pay attention to any requests for specific information such as salary requirements, work samples, or references. If you don’t follow the recruiter’s exact instructions, then the recruiter will likely skip over your resume and move on to the hundreds of other candidates who did follow directions.

4.     Boring Cover Letter or No Cover Letter
A cover letter lets employers know that you are that you are a genuinely interested applicant  and not just hitting “send” a million times on Career Builder. Take advantage of the cover letter to market your skills, personality and intelligence.  Unless the recruiter requests “no cover letters,” you should always include one.

5.     Missing Keywords
If you see keywords or skills in the job description, then take the time to thoughtfully include those words in your resume and cover letter. The first thing that many recruiters will do is search your cover letter and resume text for the keywords and skills they need.  If you submit a PDF resume, then be sure that it is saved in a searchable format.

Have you ever sent a resume out only to realize later that you made a terrible mistake on it? Feel free to vent or share your resume “learning experience” with the rest of us in the comments! Students, recent graduates and not-so-recent graduates looking for writing opportunities in Tucson can check out our current job openings.


Photo Credit: Dita Margarita