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by Kristina Rudic | September 19, 2017


Bird's eye view of someone working on a resume

Focusing on a perfect resume can drive even the most successful job seekers crazy. However, the more time you spend on a resume, the more likely it is that you will have a harder time seeing it as a whole. If you create the resume on a certain day, you should circle back on a different day to do the bulk of the editing. A fresh pair of eyes is always necessary and can shine a light on things that are missing or wrong. The most important aspects of any resume are the details, which can be easy to miss.

We’ve compiled four mistakes you might be making in your resume that could be costing you the job.

1. Irrelevant Work Experience

When applying to a new position, it’s easy to get carried away with listing all your work experience. After all, you want to show that you’re a qualified, well-rounded candidate, right? But by rattling off job after job, you detract from the positions that are actually pertinent to the new role. Instead, step back and reread what the criteria for the role are and how many years of relevant experience are required.

Start by listing all the jobs you’ve had in reverse chronological order on a separate sheet of paper. Seeing all of your experience laid out will make customizing your resume for each particular role much easier. Keep in mind that you shouldn't leave (major) gaps in-between the jobs you've had, as these can raise red flags. However, if there are slight gaps, be sure to explain why they exist during the interview. By including relevant work experience, you give the interviewer a chance to see how your past experience and skills you've acquired would apply to this new role. 

2. Little White Lies

While boosting your GPA slightly or adding a word to a previous job title may seem like a minor change, it can come back to haunt you. With hiring managers now running background checks and sweeping social media accounts of applicants, details are much easier to uncover than ever before. As such, it's never worth it to lie on your resume. It's no longer a matter of “whether” the hiring manager will uncover any lies, but “when.”

Instead of lying on a resume, focus on the skills and experience you do have. By being honest with your potential future employer, you ensure that if you get the job, you'll come in with a fresh slate. When crafting your resume, focus on what you know. At the same time, make a separate list of skills you wish to improve on and develop a plan for doing so. Missing a certain skillset that has been listed on countless job postings of interest to you? Pick up a class or reach out to a colleague to teach you. Once you've learned the skill, add it to your resume. Through continued learning, your resume will not only improve, but so will your self-confidence. So say "goodbye" to those little white lies and "hello" to a more proactive future.

3. Bad Grammar

There’s nothing worse than getting a stellar applicant whose resume is littered with typos. While grammatical mistakes are common, it's also easy to avoid them. You should always reread your resume at least once, all the way through. The best time to do this is on a day when you haven’t worked on your resume, as you’ll be coming back to it with a clear mind. Take time to read through each section carefully, and, if possible, have someone else go over it as well. Fixing any errors will not only polish your resume, but it will also demonstrate your attention to detail to the hiring manager.

4. An Incorrect File Name

One of the first things anyone does when creating a new document is to save it, yet it can be hard to come up with a file name when you haven't finalized the document. And it's all too easy to forget to change the file name from the "draft" version when you submit it. Whoever receives the document will be able to see its file name, so make sure to keep this polished and correct.

To err on the safe side, include your first and last name, followed by “resume.” This is a standard file name for a resume, but if you want to be more specific, add the job title or company name. It is not necessary to include the date, year, time, or city in the name of the document, as these additions would just lengthen the file name unnecessarily. The rule of thumb is to keep it short and simple. And whatever you do, don’t title the document simply “RESUME.”