You found the job of your dreams. Now all you have to do is wow the hiring manager with your awesome cover letter and resume. Not sure how to develop a resume that will get you called in for an interview? No worries; The Cheat Sheet spoke with two leading career experts to get inside tips on some of the dos and don’ts of resume writing.
Workplace expert and New York Times best-selling author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0, Dan Schawbel, and career expert and strategist Mary Jeanne Vincent, shared the three top resume mistakes you don’t want to make.
1. Misspelling the hiring manager’s name
First things, first: pay attention to spelling. If you misspell the hiring manager’s name, this might get your application tossed in the trash. If you can’t do a simple thing like take the time to make sure you are correctly spelling the manager’s name, this gives the impression that you’re generally careless and don’t pay much attention to detail. Why would a potential employer hire you if you can’t manage a simple task?
“You have a very slim chance if you are careless enough to misspell the hiring manager’s name. It shows that you aren’t detail focused and aren’t putting much effort into the recruiting process. You could recover by giving a great interview, being a good fit for the position, and apologizing immediately,” said Schawbel.
Vincent adds that all hope may not be lost if the hiring manager’s name has several spellings. This could be your saving grace.
“If the hiring manager has a name that is spelled a variety of ways, misspelling isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. However, if there are multiple misspellings or typos in the résumé or cover letter, it is unlikely the hiring manager will seriously consider the candidate,” warns Vincent.
2. Failing to mention results
It’s great to list your accomplishments, but without an explanation of how your efforts made a significant impact, it’s just filler. Instead of treating your resume like a list, think of it as an explainer. Let your job history be a testament to how you get results. Show that instead of just doing your job, you were an agent of positive change and you made your organization more profitable, more productive, and an overall better place to work.
“The biggest résumé mistake a job hunter makes is that they focus on the projects they did without mentioning the results of those projects. Companies are looking to hire low-risk candidates who can make an impact on day one. If you aren’t results focused and don’t have evidence that your work translates into business value, then you’ll have trouble getting a job,” said Schawbel.
Vincent also recommends adding a branding statement, relevant experience, career highlights, key areas of expertise, and professional affiliations.
3. Not including key words from the job description
If you want your resume to get a second look, you’ll want to make sure to include key words. Including key words will show that you understand what the job requires and that your skills are a good fit for the position. However, take care not to include too many.
“It is absolutely necessary that the resume reflect relevant key words. Not every key word has to be in the resume, but certainly the most relevant ones need to be included,” said Vincent.
Another reason you’ll want to include key words is that more companies are using automated methods to cull resumes. When you include target words, you can improve your chances of getting selected.
“Having key words on your resume is important because when you submit it to a job board or corporate website, a machine scans your resume looking for key words. If your resume doesn’t have those key words, you get filtered out immediately. I recommend that you include keywords from the job description on your resume and align your skills and experience as closely as possible to the position,” said Schawbel.