Getting caught up in the hurricane of the job hunt can leave you forgetting to fix any unintentionally unprofessional details in your resume. Unfortunately, hiring managers can spot small blunders from miles away. They hold the potential to crush your chances for an interview. Being aware of what you may be overlooking will help you avoid miscommunication—and missed opportunities.
1. “Funny” or “cute” or shared email accounts
If you’re of the millennial generation (roughly, those born between 1980 and 2000), the Internet and email exploded when you were still considered a child—so it only makes sense if your first email address was, well, childish.
Failure to upgrade this trusty old email address, whether from stubbornness or negligence, is a sloppy excuse to throw away your chances for an interview. According to Forbes, 31 percent of resumes are automatically dismissed for having an inappropriate email address.
If you need to create a new, professional email address, keep it simple and professional.
If you have a shared email account, create your own for job searching and related purposes. Responses from recruiters and potential employers can often end up in junk mail folders. And the danger of important messages being deleted by other users is, well, self-explanatory.
2. Failure to proofread
Don’t always rely on spellcheck! Context isn’t always considered by spellcheck, so job seekers may not realize that although a word may be spelled correctly, it may actually be the wrong word.
Studies show that a “glossing over” happens when something is read on a screen rather than on a printed piece of paper. Read your resume aloud or print it out on a hard copy for a quick way to get a fresh take. A new angle can help you find and fix mistakes. Nothing says unprofessional like a misspelling.
3. Failure to customize your resume
While working as an office assistant, I would occasionally receive resumes and route them to the appropriate person. Once, I received three resumes from the same candidate applying to three different jobs in the company. Each resume was exactly the same.
Failure to customize a resume to each job (even if only applying to jobs within the same company) is downright lazy. It’s the difference between a Happy Meal and French fine dining. Which do you think requires more effort?
Thankfully, tailoring a resume to a particular job is not as stressful as a French kitchen—especially with the help of online resume tools such as Jobscan. It’s a great building block to help you select and polish those crucial resume keywords.
Resume keywords are the skills and qualifications in your resume that match the skills and qualifications in the original job description. Using the correct resume keywords helps you get past applicant tracking systems (ATS). An ATS is a recruitment software, and they are used by 90 percent of businesses today. They not only sort and store resumes, but judge how qualified each resume is— based in large part on how many resume keywords it contains.
Customizing your resume goes hand in hand with including the most appropriate resume keywords. And the chances of generic resumes appeasing applicant tracking systems and hiring managers alike are slim.
4. Everything but the kitchen sink
Only include what is relevant to the job.
On average, hiring managers only spend 6 seconds reviewing each resume, so it is a job seeker’s task to make sure they present as much relevant information as possible.
A good tip is to start with those resume keywords to make sure that, no matter what other skills and qualifications you provide, you stand a good chance of getting past the applicant tracking system.
And remember, that 6 seconds means a hiring manager isn’t reading each individual word on your resume. So if you keep information that’s not pertinent to a particular role on your resume, you run the risk of a hiring manager seeing that and missing out on something important.
5. Lazy words such as “etc.”
When working to prove your qualifications to potential employers, don’t choose “etc.” or words like it. Instead, focus on being specific. If you feel your experience and skills may not be enough, remember to try phrasing your duties as accomplishments. For example:
Duty: Responded to customer service calls and improved customer satisfaction.
Accomplishment: Increased customer satisfaction rate to 91 percent by shortening call wait times by 2 minutes.
Also remember the importance of spelling out acronyms, at least on the first use, so both applicant tracking systems and human hiring managers understand what you’re talking about. For example, instead of “WWU,” say “Western Washington University.” Instead of just “B2C,” also use “business to consumer.”
On a resume, nothing says professional like clarity.