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The number one mistake you're making on your resume

Your resume is your first impression
Your resume is your first impression
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Most recruiters and hiring managers see several resumes a day, at least, when they are actively hiring for a role. Because of the high volume of job applicants, it is important to have a successful resume that can capture the attention of a hiring authority and get you the opportunity to make your pitch in person. So, what's the top mistake we see on resumes that could be holding you back from the coveted call-back? Here's a hint: it's not font choice, page length, or even spelling and grammar. The biggest mistake seen on resumes is found in the nature of the content itself.

Think back to the last time you updated your resume. Like most, you probably typed up a paragraph or a few bullet points about what your job entailed. It is in this stage that the fatal error usually occurs. Job applicants have developed the tendency to essentially write out their job description. While saying things like, "supervised employees," "implemented cost saving initiatives," and "worked with time keeping software" does tell employers what job you were hired to do, these terms do very little to explain whether or not you were actually any good at doing it. When you're stacked next to hundreds, if not thousands, of other people who have done the same things, your resume isn't going to stand out if it's only detailing your job description.

Instead of including the vague terminology, try to find ways to specify. Quantify and qualify your information wherever possible. For example, saying things like, "led a team of five employees and brought absenteeism down by 30% under my leadership," "identified a total of $100,000 in cost saving opportunities," and "implemented Kronos software across three locations" paints a much clearer picture of where you've been an asset to the business. Your resume is going to go further if it can provide examples of where you've succeeded in the past. Getting specific about programs you've used, operations you've performed, promotions you've received, and projects you've worked on will make your resume go from a vague job description to an explanation of the actionable, tangible processes you've used, and more importantly of times when they've worked.

As you're updating your resume, remember to show and not tell wherever possible. Saying that you were responsible for hiring and recruiting is going to pack less of a punch, whereas describing a time when you hired 53 people in six months as part of a growth initiative will help differentiate you from the crowd. By defining and refining the information that you give, you'll help your resume stand out - and standing out has never been more crucial than in today's competitive job market.

Of course, you shouldn't let the content detract from the importance of the rest of the resume. Even with all of the detailed information, your goal should still be to keep your resume under three pages, or close to it. Spelling and grammar still matter, too - and yes, even font choice counts. Once your resume is dressed for success, your only worry will be what to wear to the interview.