And you’ll never even know what happened!
1. Saying you have 20+ years’ experience, especially at the top of your resume.
This one is not as obvious as it looks. You might think “Oh, I’ll dazzle them with how experienced I am! Wrong! We call this a “screen-out factor” because a hiring manager sees this and says, that’s nice but we want a younger candidate. You can say you have extensive experience or something similar, but never say 20+ years because it will date you. An exception would be for a very senior-level executive, such as CEO or President.
2. Using templates.
If you use word processing software templates to create your resume, good luck! These templates are outdated, uninteresting, and will cause you to leave out or misplace important information that is necessary to get you noticed, especially in a pile of 500 resumes.
3. Using an “Objective” statement.
The problem with resume “objectives” is that they are candidate-focused, that is, they tell the employer what YOU want out of a job. At the risk of sounding cynical, most employers don’t care what YOU want, they care what THEY want, and how you can help them achieve those goals.
4. Not targeting the resume appropriately.
An effective resume speaks to the future, not the past. That is, you want to position your background and skill set toward the job (and company / industry) you are targeting, to show you are a good fit for that job and company culture.
5. Showing short-term positions.
Short-term positions, if they are relevant, are better placed strategically at the end of the resume- with or without dates − check with someone experienced at placing this type of information. You want to give the impression that you have a solid work experience.
6. Displaying irrelevant positions.
As is true for short-term positions, you should avoid showing positions that are not relevant to your target if you can’t show relevance by reworking translatable skills, then better to place these jobs in a separate section-again, strategically.
7. Revealing gaps in work history / showing months in job dates.
Employers don’t want to see gaps in work history, whether you are currently unemployed or have gaps in past employment. There are simply too many ways to camouflage this and make ALL parts of your background work for you. As for displaying months in job descriptions, this is more likely to reveal gaps. Better to show just years. An exception would be for employment under a year, in which case, you guessed it-you should consider leaving it off or placing it at the end of the resume. Let someone with experience help to make sure you don’t miss valuable opportunities by sending out the wrong resume.
8. Typographical Errors, Misspellings or Incorrect Grammar
Most people know that spelling mistakes and typos are taboo on a resume. The problem is that the word processing spell-check feature will only pick up a word that is misspelled, which allows for typographical errors and incorrect grammar. And the grammar-check feature is even worse-it will often identify correct usage as an error and even suggest changes that are incorrect. Therefore you always need to proofread your documents carefully as well as have a professional review your documents before sending them off to an employer.