How to Mistake-Proof Your Resume

How to Mistake-Proof Your Resume

When you send your resume and cover letter to prospective employers, mistakes and typos could ruin your chances at an interview. You know what you meant to say, so a quick scan isn’t going to reveal the mistakes that will stick out to recruiters and hiring managers. Use these tips to make sure your resume and cover letter don’t contain embarrassing errors.

Always Use Spell and Grammar Check

Most word processing programs automatically check for spelling and grammar, but they don’t make corrections for you. Go back through your document and review where your program marked errors. Word underlines mistakes with a squiggly red line and Google Docs uses solid red.

Grammarly has a free online grammar and spell checker that catches some errors word processing programs don’t. If you’re not creating your document online, you can upload it for a thorough error scan.

Don’t Edit Tired

If you just spent hours creating your resume, take a break. Come back when you’re rested, you’ll be glad you did.

Print for Proofing

You’ll be better able to spot errors on a paper copy than on a screen. Once you print your resume, use your finger to underline one word at a time as you read. The first time through, look at spelling, grammar and punctuation without editing for meaning and data accuracy. Clearly mark changes with a contrasting color pen so you can add them to your electronic copy later. Then read through again for information consistency.

Check for Common Errors

Spell check won’t catch a word used incorrectly. Make sure the subject and verb of every sentence agree with one another. Only place commas where the reader would naturally pause. Use an apostrophe with “its” only when you mean “it is.” Be careful with the commonly confused “affect” and “effect.” You “accept” offers, not “except” them. Most employees work with a manager, not a manger.

Read out Loud

This proofreading trick will catch errors you don’t notice any other way. Read your resume one word at a time at a pace similar to what you would use when speaking. If something doesn’t sound right, stop and fix it, then read it again.

Verify Hyperlinks

If the electronic copy of your resume contains links to articles you’ve written, online reviews from customers or other materials, click them to make sure they go where you intend. You could have typed URLs incorrectly, or pages might have been moved.

Ask for Help

See if a professional acquaintance or mentor will proofread your resume for you. A fresh set of eyes can make all the difference.

For more resume writing tips, see our dynamic library of useful resources. Our blog also offers help with writing a cover letter, preparing for an interview and having a successful first day on the job.

5 Things You Need to Remove from Your Resume In 2017

[Courtesy of LinkedIn.com]

Five Things You Need to Remove from Your Resume In 2017

Everyone agonizes over their resumes. We all worry that if it’s not perfect, we may not get a call from a recruiter. However, when you constantly gather feedback from peers and experts, you may end up making the job search too confusing before you even start.

Ultimately, you only want to consider one thing when you write your resume: the reader. The reader isn’t the evil applicant tracking system that throws out your resume according to some algorithm. The reader is a real, live person. Your task is to make it easy for them to understand what you do and what your accomplishment are in 1-2 pages.

Trust me, I’ve read my share of resumes. In the last four years, I’ve averaged between 20-35 open technical jobs that I was responsible for filling. In each, I selected between 5-10 candidates to interview and put forward. This equated to between 200 and 350 people I spoke to – every week. Not to mention every hiring manager I spoke to as well. Over a year, this equals 16,800 resumes. That’s just the ones that I selected, not counting all the others I declined.

Take it from me: Here are the five things you want to cut from your resume, if you haven’t already:

1. Multiple Fonts

For the most part, recruiters aren’t going to read your whole resume. They’ll look at your title, company, and dates of employment for each job, and then move on.

The human eye is a funny thing. If you have several different fonts on the page, it may mess with the reader’s comprehension. They’ll have to reread certain sections of the resume just to make sure they understand – if you’re lucky, that is. If you aren’t lucky, they will just move on to the next candidate.

Plus, all those fonts are making my eyes hurt. Please stop.

2. ‘References Given Upon Request’

We know they are. We will ask you for references if we decide to give you an offer. This is premature in the relationship. All you’ve done so far was send a cover letter and resume.

3. Long, Boring Bullet Points

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If a sixth grader can read your resume and understand what you do for a living, than a non-technical recruiter can, too. The odds that the person reviewing your resume doesn’t fully understand what you do for a living are high. That’s why you want to write punchy bullets with accomplishment statements woven in. Use a simple format to present your tasks and achievements quickly. White space is your friend. I promise.

Five Things You Need to Remove from Your Resume In 2017

4. Funny or Odd Email Addresses – or Worse, Your Company Email Address

It’s a job search. Be professional. I once had a job seeker list “foxylady@gmail.com” as her email address. After 15 years of doing this work, I still remember it. Enough said.

5. Industry or Company Jargon

The reader has no idea what the “Tiger Team” or the “Eagle Project” were. Be safe and drop anything highly technical and industry- or company-specific – especially acronyms. If you must use such language, spell it out. High-tech companies are known for having special languages that don’t translate to anyone outside of the company. Years ago, I read resumes from candidates who were let go from Intel. It was confusing and time-consuming. They were lucky, because I ended up calling them and asking a lot of questions. Most recruiters won’t do that. They’ll just skip over you entirely.

Job seekers often write too much (and never too little) out of fear. They are afraid if they don’t list every little detail on their resume, they won’t get a call to interview. This approach often backfires. If you put your resume “out there” for 30 days and no one responds, stop sending it out. Chances are what you wrote on your resume works just fine, but you should also know when it’s time to pull the document and refresh it.

Resume Not Getting Responses? Here’s What to Do

Resume Not Getting Responses Here’s What to Do

[Courtesy of Murray Resources]

You only have a few seconds to make a positive impression on a hiring manager. It’s not a lot of time to stand out and get noticed. The good news is that just a few small tweaks can lead to big improvements on your resume. Here’s a look at 5 you can make right now:

#1: Stick to standard.

Unless you’re applying for a job in a creative field, don’t get flashy on your resume. Instead, format it in a traditional way, with bolded job titles and bullets underneath. In addition, when emailing your resume, always send a PDF. That way, the formatting will look the same regardless of the computer it’s being opened on. Also, stick to traditional fonts on your resume. Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Arial are always good choices.

#2: Keep it concise.

Get rid of unnecessary verbiage. This includes stating that “references are available on request.” In addition, don’t include more than six or seven bullets under each job title. And make sure each one is succinct and makes sense for the reader.

#3: Pull out that personal information.

Details such as your marital status, the number of kids you have, or your religion don’t belong on your resume. In fact, it’s illegal for an employer to consider these factors when hiring and including them makes you look out of the loop.

#4: Concentrate on accomplishments.

The single best way to get noticed by a hiring manager is to promote your proven track record. That means highlighting awards, successes, achievements, praise, and positive comments you’ve received over the years – and that are most relevant to the job you want. Add numbers and percentages to quantify accomplishments wherever you can.

#5: Phone a friend.

Once you’ve polished your resume and think it’s as good as it’s going to get, ask a friend or colleague to review it. Not only can they check for mistakes and typos, but they can also offer you some insight and inspiration into how to position your background.

 

6 Easy Ways to Update Your Resume

Courtesy of Murray Resources

Six Easy Ways to Update Your Resume

You want to find a new job. But when’s the last time you looked at your resume?

If the answer is “a few years ago,” or worse, “I don’t remember,” then you have some work to do before you can submit it to potential employers. A great resume is like a ticket into the interview process. And if you don’t have one, then you’re going to miss out on top opportunities.

To help you in the process, here are six easy ways to update your resume:

#1: Think about goals.

While your resume gives an overview of your career history, it should also be about future goals. That means when you’re thinking about what to highlight, consider it through the lens of where you want to go in your career. If job duties at a past position don’t align with future career goals, then don’t put a lot of emphasis on them. Concentrate your attention, instead, on the experiences and credentials that relate to your current career objectives.

#2: Eliminate the objective.

Unless you’re changing careers, get rid of the objective, or make it very short. This simply takes up valuable space without offering a lot of return. Instead, replace it with a summary of qualifications that offers a few key highlights of your professional career.

#3: Focus on the “wow” factor.

The strongest resumes promote results, not just duties and responsibilities. Some questions to ask yourself to find your “wow” factor for each position include:

  • What have you been easybest at in past positions?
  • What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
  • Which achievements can you back up with numbers, dollars, and percentages?
  • What information would make a hiring manager want to call you in for an interview?

#4: Refresh the look.

Most hiring managers scan resumes. So make yours easy to quickly skim. Use bolded job titles and three to four bullet points under each. Also, don’t use a tiny point size for your font; 11 or 12 are standard. In addition, make sure there’s plenty of spacing so your resume doesn’t look cramped.

#5: Update your contact information.

If you just have your name and address, it’s time for an update. Your cell phone number and email, as well as a link to your LinkedIn profile, should be front and center instead.

#6: Use keywords.

Most companies today use an applicant tracking system to find candidates. So if you don’t use keywords from the job posting, you could get filtered out – even if you’re the right fit.