Common Mistakes

  1. No dates. Always include dates on your resume. You may regret taking time off during or after school, but it is best to be up front about it. Do not over analyze things. So long as that hiatus during school was not a 10 year stint in the big house, the employer is not likely to pay much attention to it. If the dates are missing, though, it will warrant more scrutiny by the employer.
  2. Negative Emotions. Do not bring the baggage from a previous job into a new one. Most people have had a horrible boss at one time or another. Learn from the experience and leave it behind you. Do not specify why you left a previous job unless it was on good terms, and then only if necessary. You would not want to say how wonderful all but one of your bosses was, as an employer will probably call that one for a reference. If you are asked during an interview why you left a particular job, do not let your emotions take over. Do not go into details. Just answer the question with as little “my side of the story” information as possible. Avoid placing blame.
  3. Too Much Information. It is important to gauge which information is relevant. If you are a college graduate you probably do not need to go into the details of your high school education. Your H.S. GPA and participation in sports are not very important at this stage of the game. It is a delicate balance – include everything they need, but at the same time do not omit anything that would arouse suspicion.
    • Most personal information is best left personal. Do not disclose your race, gender, marriage status, or anything else that the employer does not have a legal right to know. Some seemingly innocent admissions about your personal life could wreak havoc on your chances at getting the job, or even an interview. Rule of thumb – do not divulge personal details unless they are pertinent to the specific job you are applying for, and they are favorable.
  4. No Details. Explore your successes and accomplishments. Describe how you found a faster, better way to do things at a previous job. These details are more important to the employer than the fact that you worked at company x for y years.
  5. No Cover Letter. The cover letter plays an important role in the hiring process. It is most important when you are applying for a job at a larger company which is hiring for many positions at the same time. Among other things discussed in cover letters, this document gives you an opportunity to catch the employer’s interest, show off your writing skills, and show interest in the company you’re applying for a job at. Without a cover letter, your resume might be discarded.
  6. Carelessness. Spell check. Proofread. Make the physical aspect of your resume as professional as possible. If you get a smudge on it, print a new one. Mistakes in this category are not in and of themselves catastrophic, but in conjunction with other errors they could tip the scale against you.

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