As discussed in last week’s blog post, during the elusive and hopefully illustrious job hunt, it is important that your resume stand out from the rest. There are good ways and bad ways to ensure you and your application make a lasting impression.
More Wrong Reasons for Standing Out
To recap, we have already canvassed the following issues: Small or Irregular Fonts; Formatting Problems; Not Following Instructions; and Non-Descript Descriptions and Objectives. In this segment of Resume Writing 101, we will continue to examine the most commonly made mistakes of job applications.
5. Coloured Paper
Obviously, resumes submitted in hardcopy on coloured paper are visually different when contrasted with the sea of white. This is not necessarily a good thing. First, coloured paper can come off as unprofessional or juvenile. Your experience and resume writing should speak for itself, regardless of the backdrop. Second, resumes are often photocopied upon receipt or scanned into an electronic version. Coloured or textured papers will likely show up as gray, and worse, may muddle the text you have so carefully prepared. Instead, use high-quality, white, un-textured paper and black ink.
6. Errors in Contact Information
Your resume may be fantastic. So fantastic in fact, that the employer would like to contact you to set up an interview. Unfortunately, you never get the call because you recently moved and changed your phone number. While this is a hypothetical situation, it is very common that an email address (for example, a university generated email domain that becomes inactive upon graduation), or a telephone number (used before a recent relocation) are haphazardly listed on the resume and later found to be inactive. A potential employer will not take any more time or effort to contact you if you have not taken the time yourself to ensure your contact information is accurate, up-to-date and correct. Similarly, be wary of any pending address changes, you may risk never receiving a mailed employment offer.
7. Attached Photos
There may have been a time when attaching a photo to a resume was common practice, that time has now passed. This is no longer appropriate and it will only detract from your written submissions. Save those business-like headshots for social media profiles such as LinkedIn. On that matter of photos, don’t forget to search yourself in image search directories such as “Google Images,” and proceed accordingly.
8. General Grammar Mistakes
Now, we have all heard this before, but it is one piece of advice that is always worth repeating: Proofread! There is nothing more jarring than a glaring typo, a misspelled name, an out of place comma, or a forgotten quotation mark. These silly errors denote a level of sloppiness, inattention to detail, and general lack of care. Another common grammar mistake that may be less obvious is tense non-contemporaneity. For example, past work experience that you are not currently engaged in requires the use of the past tense. Work you are currently practicing should be in the present tense. Lastly, objectives and interests regarding future work must be in the future tense. Descriptions of self and a state of being are often in the present tense; however, this can vary in the context. Whatever tense is being utilized, be sure to be consistent throughout the entire section.