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  • July 28, 2014
  • Nazila Khadem
  • Resume

5 ways your resume is letting you down

It’s happened to everyone. You’ve found an ad for your dream job and you have the prerequisite skills – yet you never hear back from the employer. Before you get to the interview stage, your resume is the only representation of who you are to an employer. Simple mistakes and errors can cause your resume to be discarded, preventing you from showing your capability to employers. You have 5-20 seconds to impress, make sure you stand out for the right reasons! Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 mistakes that employers consider to be “deal-breakers” sorting through resumes.

1. THE BASICS – 58% of employees cite typos as one of the main reason to dismiss a resume

It sounds cliche, but when we live in a digital age, there is no excuse for spelling errors, typos and grammatical errors in a resume. Regardless of how experienced you are, the integrity of your job application rests on the employer’s perception of how much care you took to write your application. Get 3 people to read through your resume and check for mistakes. Use an easy-to-read font (no smaller than size 11) and remember to save your resume as a PDF.

2. SIZE MATTERS – 66% of employers say that a resume should be 1 page long, 77% say no longer than 2 pages

Imagine you are a recruiter, reading up to 100 applications for each job. You don’t have time to give more than 20 seconds attention to each resume. If they don’t immediately answer the criteria or impress you, their resume is thrown into the “no” pile. Keeping your resume to 1 or 2 pages will force you to include the most relevant achievements. Quality over quantity is key.

3. IT’S A DATE – 27% of employers consider date gaps non specific employment dates as automatic grounds for exclusion

If you have had time between jobs, it should be included in your resume. If you took a gap year or traveled, mention this and use it as an opportunity to express your personality. If you had time between jobs trying to find work, include a brief explanation in your cover letter. General date gaps arouse suspicion.

4. FORMATTING – 90% of resumes are placed directly into keyword search databases

Beyond line spacing and section dividers, the visual appeal of your resume must also facilitate how astutely your resume responds to criteria. Other simple things like checking that headings don’t shuffle between pages upon converting the file to a PDF, having bold or underlined headings and aligning dot points and paragraphs are key.

5. SKILLS – 35% of employers consider failing to include specific skills as a deal breaker

Listing your relevant skills for a job is not optional. It’s best to integrate these skills, using key words from the job application. Group your skills to save space and be concise. You can use sub headings such as “Word Processing Skills” and reference multiple achievements under each heading. Always include links to your work.

WORDS BY CYNDALL MCINERNEY. If you’re unsure of what employers within your industry are looking for, a mentor in your field can tell you what they wish they knew! Sign up for the PropellHer mentoring program here.






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