What is a bad resume? A bad resume can be considered an ineffective one and refers to a resume that doesn’t facilitate a candidate moving to the next stage of the recruitment process (usually a job interview).
If you’re not sure what a bad resume looks like (or if you may have one), these are the top 7 mistakes that people make with their resumes.
It’s a Non-ATS friendly resume: Most people are aware that correct formatting is key to an effective resume, but in trying to develop an eye-catching resume, many fall into the trap of using a free resume template found from software or on social media. These resumes may look fantastic, but they are generally ineffective with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
ATS is software designed to assist recruiters to collect, organise, screen and track job applicant information throughout a recruitment process. The software is designed to eliminate applications based on missing keywords. This means your resume needs to be written in a way that will ensure it progresses through ATS. These systems have difficulty finding key information if it’s included in brackets, tables, graphics or headers and footers.
Here are some essential guidelines for resume formatting:
Clear writing: Resumes should be written clearly and concisely, and in plain English.
Avoid including acronyms or references that won’t have any meaning to someone reading your resume outside of your organisation. Acronyms used across entire industries or that are commonly known are acceptable can be included if you provide some context.
- using lists over paragraphs, including bullet points or numbers
- ensuring sections are appropriately spaced or separated
- using standard size page margins
- using consistent and complimentary fonts, font sizes, bullets, alignment and minimal colour
- ensuring the information is prioritised and the most important content is listed first
Multiple spelling and grammatical errors: Even the best writer makes mistakes and it’s extremely difficult to identify all of them after reading a document many times. Therefore, getting someone to proofread your resume is so important. If you’re making claims about your ‘strong written communication skills’ and ‘attention to detail’, submitting a resume full of grammatical errors will quickly refute your claims.
Weak professional profile (or none): The first paragraph of your resume is the most important. It needs to grab. the reader’s attention and entice them into reading more. If you don’t have a professional profile (or similar) at the start of your resume, you need to add one. This section is not used to explain what you are looking for in a job or your career goals.
Some top tips for writing a professional profile include:
- state what your profession is and how long you’ve been doing it for
- elaborate on this further and explain your specialist area of expertise
- summarise what you can bring to an organisation
Including too many personal details: Your resume is the key job document used to demonstrate your unique set of skills, knowledge, experience and achievements as it relates to your career.
Therefore, there’s no need to include many personal details in your resume, and if you’re keeping your resume to 2-3 pages, you won’t have room for it. Personal details such as date of birth, gender, marital status, nationality and appearance have no place in an Australian style resume.
Hobbies and interests are generally not recommended to be included in a resume, unless you can demonstrate the skills developed from these activities are relevant to the vacancy you’re applying for. This also applies to voluntary or community involvement- if it’s relevant to the role you’re applying for then it could be included in your resume.
Not using keywords: Keywords refer to words or short phrases included in a job advertisement. These words or short phrases are usually the critical skills and attributes employers are looking for in candidates. Referencing these keywords in your resume is crucial for your job application to be successful. ATS search for keywords in job applications and screen candidates based on the results of the search.
Effective use of keywords also helps the reader to quickly scan a resume to search for skills, knowledge and experience that are critical to their vacant role. Be sure to highlight key transferable skills such as ‘excellent communication skills’, ‘good attention to detail’, ‘ability to solve problems creatively’ and so on. These skills should align with the key skills and attributes of the position you’re applying for.
Keeping your resume generic (not having a tailored resume): A tailored resume to each job application is perhaps the most important tool in your job search kit.
The main reasons why you should tailor your resume for each role include:
- Your resume will include the all-important keywords required by ATS
- You can better demonstrate your suitability for the role
- Employers will easily find the key information they’re searching for
- Employers will get a better sense of whether you’re a good fit for the role
- Employers will acknowledge your effort to tailor a resume and be more inclined to accept your application
- The job market can be competitive – other candidates will have a tailored resume
Many people find it very difficult to objectively review and critique their own resume, however this is essential to improving the content. A bad resume can stop a candidate moving to the next stage of the recruitment process (usually a job interview), resulting in a frustrating and long job search.
Becoming aware of common resume mistakes and how to fix them can dramatically improve results.
If you’re unsure, always consult a career development professional as we understand what is involved in the job application process and what hiring managers are looking for and are happy to assist you on your career journey.
Our full list of services is available here: https://dreamjobconsulting.com.au/services/