There is definitely an art and a science to resume writing. Not only does your resume need to be aesthetically pleasing and quickly catch the eye of a recruiter, it also needs to be keyword heavy to be picked up by recruiting software programs. Working with a professional resume writer can help you avoid common resume mistakes, but if you choose to go it alone these quick tips can help ensure the beautiful resume you’ve spent hours on will get serious consideration by recruiters.

Sloppy or Inaccurate Dates. Recruiters have a trained eye when it comes to resumes and they can quickly pick up mistakes that you may not even know you’re making! For example, did you know that listing a start and end date for your college education tells a recruiter that you haven’t graduated yet? College graduates should only list the year and month that they graduated. For more mature job seekers, leaving the graduation date off all together is always an option.

In today’s social media driven world, employers often verify candidates information against their own social media profiles, so make sure the dates on your resume match your LinkedIn profile, a web resume if you have one, or anywhere else you have your employment history posted.

Like any other information on your resume, the dates should be consistent. Nothing bugs me more than seeing a resume that has dates in all different formats – it just looks sloppy! If you use Jan 2004 in your experience section, repeat that format in your education section and all throughout your resume.

Too Vague. Recruiters can spot or all-over-the-place job seeker from a mile away. If you’re not sure what you want to do when you grow up and your resume reflects that, a recruiter is not going to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. Why would a recruiter waste their time interviewing a person for a position that may not be interested? Time is money, and no wants to waste theirs. If you have multiple interests and multiple job targets, you should have multiple job seeking packages. Tweak your resume and cover letter for each target, or work out a deal with your resume writer for multiple packages.

Even job seekers who have a specific target in mind can be guilty of being too vague in their resume. If you know what you want to do, make that clear throughout with a statement of objective and industry-specific skills and keywords. Use concise language to tell employers what you’ve done and how you added value. Limit your use of fluffy, soft skills language so that the real you can come through!

Too Wordy. Resumes are unique documents. They are meant to present a clear snapshot of your unique skills and experience. Every word should be chosen wisely. Mean what you say and say what you mean! In a resume, it’s actually ok to break grammatical rules for pronouns and articles. This is no place for “I, me, my” and you’re actually expected to exclude extraneous words. Save your philosophies and anecdotes for the interview.

Rules for resume lengths have lightened up a bit. Experienced professionals can certainly extend to the second page if necessary, but entry level candidates should limit themselves to one page.

Pictures and Personal Information. Pictures have no place on your resume, unless you are a model and your physical appearance is directly related to your ability to do the job. While you may believe that attending church on Sunday and having three kids makes you more attractive to an employer, personal information doesn’t belong on your resume or cover letter. A potential employer likely has a profile already formed of who the ideal candidate for this position is. Having kids and being a devoted family man may or may not be part of that ideal profile. By including personal information, you’re just increasing your chances of having a “strike” against you, whether that strike is warranted or not. With resumes, the
rule is always Less is More. Stick with the facts, and just the facts.

Spelling, Grammar & Punctuation Mistakes. This should be a no-brainer, but avoiding spelling mistakes goes beyond using your spell checker. I recently saw a resume for an established professional in the hospitality industry who misspelled guests four times in the body of the cover letter. The spell check didn’t pick it up because he used the word “quests” instead of “guests”. He also indicated that he possesses high attention to detail. For a potential employer, the misspelling of guests speaks volumes! What is says is that you don’t really pay attention to the details, even though you said you do. What else might you be misrepresenting?

Another common mistake is extreme capitalization. Use traditional grammar rules for capitalization – consult a style guide if necessary. While you may think capitalization is an effective method for calling attention to certain words or topics, it can actually be very distracting for a reader since it’s counterintuitive to learned rules of our language.

Tenses are a sticking point in resumes as well. As a general rule, use present tense to describe current job responsibilities and past tense for everything else. Whatever you do, like everything else in resume writing, be consistent!

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I am a professional resume writer with deep experience as a writer and a marketer, and have been writing compelling and precise copy client and employers for over ten years. I attended the Univerisity of Scranton and graduated with honors with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and English and a Master of Arts in English. I was the recipient of my alma mater's O'Hara Award, which is given to the graduate student with the highest overall GPA in their respective department. Following graduation, I pursued a career in corporate marketing. I have broad-based marketing experience in B2C and B2B marketing for pharmaceuticals, publishing, software and retail. I have been lucky enough to discover my passion in resume writing, which combines my love of writing, design and building relationships to help people find their dream job. I take a consultative approach to every project I undertake - if you're looking for a big resume company that works with hundreds of clients at the same time, I am not for you! However, if you're looking for someone who will truly listen to you and work with you to create a winning resume that boosts your confidence in your job search, you've come to the right place. Let's get started on your project today so you can get to doing what you love right away!

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