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It’s sad but true: job seekers are still making the same, easily avoidable mistakes on their resumes that they’ve been making for years—the types of mistakes that get their resumes deleted immediately. Yes, you need to avoid spelling errors, which spell-check won’t always catch, but most of all you have to streamline your resume and learn to highlight what’s most important to employers.

Here are the four biggest blunders hiring managers see on resumes. Learn to avoid them, and you could find yourself being called for an interview in no time!

1) Cut the Fluff!

What do phrases like “dedicated self-starter,” “exceptional communication skills,” and “hard-working professional” really mean anymore? Nothing! These phrases are so trite and overused, you’ll be selling yourself short by using them. Instead of describing yourself in glowing terms, prove what you can do for the employer: list quantifiable accomplishments. And these days, that means portraying yourself as someone who knows how to get results in leaner workplaces with marginalized budgets.

2) Leave Out the Kitchen Sink
Many people include way too much information on their resumes. They assume they need to list everything they’ve ever done at every job they’ve ever had. But how much of this is relevant to the job you’re seeking? The bulk of the information on your resume should cover the areas of your background that fit the role you’re pursuing—include far less of the experience that doesn’t fit or doesn’t showcase your results. If you give a recruiter information overload, they won’t give you a second glance.

3) Pump Up the Top-Fold

What’s a top-fold? The first third of your resume. That’s where the hiring manager’s eye goes first when seeing your resume for the first time. And that’s where the hiring manager will spend no more than six to 13 seconds reading and deciding whether you even get considered for the job. You need to make sure this section is well formatted, doesn’t have too much text, and highlights your key skill sets to keep the reader’s attention.

4) Keep it Simple

Don’t use any fancy fonts, such as those that look like script or have curly flourishes. These make your words too hard to read and retain, which is the opposite of what you want! And don’t vary your fonts too much within the body of the resume. Stick to one for headings, and another for body text, if you want to set them apart for clarity. Use clean-lined fonts, such as Arial or Calibri.

And remember, less is more! Simplify your resume to include capabilities and skills that you want to highlight. If the hiring managers are able to quickly—and easily— find key skills and capabilities on your resume, they will get in touch with you to schedule an interview.

If you want more details on how to polish your resume until it shines, contact the dedicated recruiting specialists at Smith Hanley any time. We’d be happy to share our expertise!


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