Is this actually the resume you’re submitting or you really just don’t want this job. That’s just one of the things you don’t want a recruiter to think when looking at your resume. Yes, the job search process can be very discouraging at times. You find jobs that seem like a perfect match for your skills, but get no callbacks for any of them. The reality is that it’s a recruiter’s market right now. That means you have to work even harder and smarter to stand out amongst the thousands of candidates who think they’re great too (as well as those who randomly apply for every posting knowing they’re nowhere qualified.) If your resume has been circulating the job boards, but your phone is as quiet as a church mouse, it may be time for a makeover. Find out if you’re guilty of any of these mistakes that will sabotage your brand.

1. There are errors on your resume.

Having blatant typos on your resume can be worse than saying congratulations on your baby to someone who’s not pregnant.  Errors on your resume may not always be an automatic disqualification for a job, but are you willing to take that chance? A recruiter doesn’t care that you were up until two o’clock in the morning making updates. Make sure you give yourself enough time to look over your resume with fresh eyes if you make any changes. When you’ve been working on a document long enough, you just can’t see the errors anymore. Your resume could have “redrum” hidden in there and it still seems perfectly fine (after looking at it for the 15th time.) Also, be careful with spell check. Common mistakes like form versus from or manger versus manager can easily be overlooked and show carelessness and lack of attention to detail. If you add a new role, make sure the dates and tenses of previous roles are updated as well. Ideally, it’s a good idea to get a reliable second pair of eyes to look over your resume. It’s better for a friend to find your mistakes than a recruiter.

2. You’ve had the same resume since your first real job.

If you’ve been out of college for at least 10 years, but your resume has never changed except to add a new job, “Houston, we have a problem.”  Your resume may have been fantastic when it was first written, (or not), but it should be an evolving document—even if your job hasn’t changed much. Things and times change.  At one point it was standard to start your resume with an “Objective.” Now it’s seen as unnecessary (recruiters care more about your skills and qualifications than the fact that you’re “looking for a HR position in a fast-paced environment…”).  Also, terms and techniques that you’ve used before may now be outdated. These days, it’s just as important to showcase your personal brand in your resume as it is to list your accomplishments. You’d be surprised to know what has changed since you last circulated your resume. Moral of the story? Stay on top of industry trends and check your resume yearly to make sure it’s current with the times.

3. Your resume looks like everyone else’s.

Recruiters scan thousands of resumes every day and decide within seconds whether or not they will continue reading. If looking at your resume reminds them of a glitch in the Matrix (picture a black cat appearing twice), chances are they won’t look much further. Stop using general templates from the internet thinking if it’s okay for this random person online, it must be good for you too. Your brand is unique so your resume should be as well. It’s fine to search the Internet to get ideas for your resume, but be careful. There are a lot of generic and bad examples mixed in from resources that may not be reliable. Do you know the difference? A good professional resume writer will uncover your marketable skills and tailor your resume based on your personal brand, industry, and career goals.  If you’re not able to take the time to do the proper digging and research yourself, it’s worth the investment to have a professional do it for you.

Want to know more about where your resume stands against the competition? Check out the “Does Your Resume Pass the 6-Seconds Rule?” cheat sheet. It’s free, so you won’t need to pay a psychic network to tell you if a resume makeover should be in you near future.

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Marietta Gentles Crawford
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Marietta Gentles Crawford

Writer + Personal Brand Strategist, Founder at MGC Ink
Marietta Gentles Crawford is a writer, personal brand strategist, and author of "From Nine to Thrive: A Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and Elevating Your Career." With over ten years' experience climbing through top corporate and government brands as a writer and trainer, her passion is inspiring professionals to dare mediocrity.
Marietta Gentles Crawford
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