You’ve put your resume together after much research and review of your work history. You’ve made sure your contact information is correct, all your accomplishments are listed, and the format is perfect. With sheer enthusiasm and a little hope, you type up a quick intro email and send it off to your potential employer. You know you’re perfect for that job, and you feel assured you’ll get a call. So now, you wait.
And wait… and wait.
After three weeks, you realize no one’s called you back. When you call to follow up, the employer either hasn’t heard of you or immediately isn’t interested.
Resume not working?
This scenario is the worst thing that can happen to any prospective job seeker. The question you ask yourself is, “Why didn’t my resume work?” The answer can be much easier to solve than you think. It can be as simple as having the four worst resume mistakes that ruined your chances. It’s easy to make these mistakes on your resume. So after you read this list, be ready to give your resume a thorough review.
#1: Job tasks or duties without results
It’s easy to put, “managed teams,” or “cleaned warehouse.” But take a closer look at these simple phrases. They honestly say nothing important or relevant to help your resume. Instead of using those bland phrases, expand upon them. For instance, if you managed teams think about how many teams you managed. What was the time frame that you managed them? What was the final result from you managing those teams? How many teams did you manage?
Sometimes it can be difficult to make such a plain phrase sound important. Take this example of a secretary’s duties: “Answered phones.” Bland, right?
Let’s change it up, so it’s still an honest duty performed, but sounds more interesting: “Answered multi-line phone within 30 seconds to reduce customer call wait times.” See how that sounds better?
While it’s good to post results of your duties or tasks, remember that your resume content should always be relative to your focus, which brings us to our next mistake.
#2 Listing EVERYTHING—Every. Single. Thing. You. Ever. Did.
You’re proud of your work history and accomplishments. And, you want to make sure the whole world knows it. But, did you know that listing all accomplishments or duties from your work history onto your resume can inhibit your chances of getting a callback?
How does it do that? - you may ask. Resumes are designed to be promotional documents of your accomplishments, but your listed accomplishments should be relevant to your focus. For example, let’s say you’re tailoring your resume to a welding job in construction and one accomplishment you list shows that you sold $1,000 in bouquets within 24-hours from a flower shop where you once worked. Do you see how irrelevant that accomplishment is?
Now, if you were applying for a job in sales, that would definitely be at the top of your accomplishment list. But since it isn’t relevant to construction, it’s better to avoid bringing it to attention.
Another important issue is that prospective employers don’t want to read blocks of text or lists of bullet pointed accomplishments. List only what is relevant and highlight only the most relevant accomplishments to catch the recruiter's attention.
With that said, you’ll also want to avoid adding odd achievements that can catch attention but turn off employers instantly—like the ones in this next mistake.
#3 Adding hobbies, volunteer work, or obscure achievements
You do more than just work. Maybe you volunteer, engage in stimulating hobbies, or have accomplished a unique feat. Many of these factors do not belong on your resume, and if they do, it’s dependent on your resume focus.
Hobbies are a big no-no on resumes. To be blunt, employers don’t care about your hobbies. Those are things everyone does in their spare time to relieve stress or pass the time.
Volunteer work can sometimes be added, but only if it’s relevant to the career focus. Let’s say you’re changing careers to a teacher’s assistant for first graders, but your experience reflects work history in sales. However, you also have five years of volunteer work as a part-time teacher’s aide for disabled children. Bingo! There’s your transition experience to use for your job change.
Obscure achievements, such as winning the local hotdog eating contest, acing the state tennis tournament, or making prize-winning chili at the county fair are not experiences you want on your resume.
These elements carry no value, and your resume is all about your value to prospective employers. Always leave off non-valuable information or skills, including personal information.
# 4 Private and personal information
The only information (about you) that should ever be on your resume is your name, general location, phone number, and an email address. It is customary now to add your LinkedIn profile since LinkedIn is perfect for networking, and showing off your extensive job history. And, if you’re in a creative career or industry, add that website or online portfolio.
But, don’t go too in-depth with information. Private or personal information should never be seen on a resume. You already know listing your age or even adding work history further than 20 years dates you and it is a quick way to get your resume trashed.
Other information that you should not add is sexual orientation, political viewpoint, marital status, and religious affiliation. Such information can be controversial, make others feel uncomfortable, or be entirely irrelevant.
These are important matters, but they don’t belong on your resume. The only thing your potential employer needs to know is if you are the right person for the job.
Eliminating these four mistakes from your resume can significantly increase your chances at landing an interview. Go through your resume carefully, and make those changes before sending it out again.