5 Resume Mistakes
Putting together your resume for the
first time (or first time in a while) is plain awful. Like trying to
remember math formulas from middle school, it can be unclear what
employers today expect and if your resume will pass the test or get
marked up as a failure. Whether you're putting your resume together
yourself or with the help of a friend or professional, there are several
areas that every job seeker needs to be aware of that can inadvertently
cause your resume to get rejected.
It's hard to claim you have
excellent attention to detail if your resume includes typos or
omitted words, or other mistakes. Job seekers often send application
materials that include typos if they fail to have someone look over
their resume or cover letter before hitting "Send." Having someone
proofread your materials will help prevent unnecessary mistakes, and
will also ensure that your materials make sense. If you're rewriting
your resume and customizing it for each position you apply for —
which you should be doing — make sure your rewrites and formatting
don't add mistakes or omissions.
"References available upon request"
or objective statements that essentially say "I want this job"
aren't adding anything new to your resume, and instead only serve to
take up valuable resume real estate. Employers will come away more
informed if you include summaries of your qualifications,
accomplishments and skills.
Most resumes can only be accepted in
certain computer program formats, like a word document or text
document, or sometimes a PDF. Not only is it important to ensure
that you're using the right type of document when creating and
sending your resume, but you also need to make sure that your resume
gets delivered in the correct formatting, too. Nothing is more
distracting and off-putting to a hiring manager than trying to read
disjointed, cut-off job descriptions and dates in a poorly formatted
resume. Keep your resume format simple and to take the best
opportunity to send a properly formatted resume, use a PDF as your
go-to and also have simpler text versions, too.
A recent CareerBuilder survey found
that there are some words hiring managers and human resources
professionals just don't want to see on your resume, including best
of breed, go-getter, think outside of the box, synergy, go-to
person, thought leadership, value add, results-driven, team player,
bottom-line, hard worker, strategic thinker, dynamic,
self-motivated, detail-oriented, proactively and track record. Skip
these buzzwords and instead include specific accomplishments and
results to prove value added to hiring managers.
information and the kitchen sink
A complete job history usually
doesn't equal a history of relevant career experience, but job
seekers will often list every position they've ever held to prove to
employers that they're employable. The reason this hurts your
chances of getting the job is that often, job seekers don't draw
connections between the job listed and the position they're applying
for, effectively rendering the resume a generic, unfocused
application that doesn't frame you as the best fit for the job. An
employer will probably assume that you're using this generic
application to apply for a large volume of jobs and give you just as
short a time of consideration as you did for their application.
These mistakes can cause even the most
impressive resume to get cut from the short list of candidates hiring
managers are interested in. To avoid ruining your own chances of getting
the job, be sure to check carefully to exclude these errors from your
application materials. You're on your way to impressive employers with a
CareerBuilder, LLC. Original publish date: 10.31.14
Simple Secrets to Career Success
By Peter Harris
job to get is always your first one. Your first job of all, your first
job in your field, your first job in a new city, first job transitioning
into a new sector.
comes to your first job after graduating, you want it to be meaningful,
in-line with your values and goals, a career move.
holding out for those jobs that holds people back.
jobs don't matter anymore. Every job is temporary.
the work histories in the millions of Canadian resumes in the Workopolis
database, we can see that the majority (51%) of people change jobs every
two years, over 80% stay less than four years in any one job. Job hopping is the new normal.
just their individual jobs, but most people — the vast majority (76%)
also work in multiple career paths, different fields entirely over their
people say their education is not directly related to their current
matter anymore. Careers do. And your career is made up of the many, many
jobs that you'll hold over the course of your working life. You'll learn
along the way what you like to do, what you're good at, and where you
want to go.
are good, some suck.
But even the bad ones contribute to your career. And a bad job isn't a
life sentence, it's a stepping stone.
that everything is temporary takes the pressure off decision making. So,
take whatever opportunities are offered, because you learn more (and
earn more) by working than waiting.
2. Don't work for money
been a lot of talk in the news lately about volunteering and unpaid
internships since the governor of the Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz
suggested that young people who couldn't find jobs should work for free.
it doesn't seem like a winning policy for the country's top banker to
suggest that an entire generation work for no wages, on an individual
level, there is some sound advice there.
trying to break into the job market, into a new industry, or a
competitive field, you have to hustle. You have to do whatever it takes
to demonstrate your passion, your drive and your resourcefulness.
Sometimes that means volunteering.
we all need money. We need to be paid. But cash isn't the real currency
of your career.
The career currency that matters
currency is the assets that you build up over the course of your career
that make you more valuable to future employers and allow you to keep
landing better jobs and moving up within jobs.
your professional reputation, your
network of contacts,
the skills and
experiences you gain on the job, and
that you rack up that prove what you can do — that set you apart.
start gaining those right from your very first job. Showing up on time,
working hard, helping out others, providing great service: people
remember these things and they'll want to work with you again and
recommend you to others. They're transferable across industries. Which
is good because — as we know — most people change industries.
3. Don't ask 'what am I going to do?'
important question is always
what am I going to do next?
What skills can I acquire next, what can I take on
to add accomplishments to my resume, what will my
career move be.
time worrying about a career that doesn't exist yet. Start building it
holding out for the 'right' career move, focus on whatever jobs are
available. Get yourself hired. Show up early and stay late. Volunteer
for the projects that other people don't want to do. Be flexible and
The real secret to success?
career currency. Having a growing list of accomplishments on your resume
and a network of people happy to work with you again or recommend you to
others will give you more and more career options. Working many jobs
allows you to learn what you like to do and what you're good at. Being
successful at jobs that you like doing is the real secret to a winning
Does it Take Canadians to Get a New Job?
By Peter Harris
looking up. November's
Labour Force Survey
from Statistics Canada indicated that the national unemployment rate is
now down to 6.5%, and that's the lowest it has been in six years. So
we're headed in the right direction.
a national average masks the fact that there are pockets of labour
shortage and areas and demographics with higher unemployment. So there
is still work to do, but this is very encouraging.)
has been seeing increased online job postings throughout the year, so we
have been expecting to see this translate into more people working.
October marks the second month in a row to show solid gains in
employment. So, while two months isn't enough to call a trend yet, we
are expecting to see hiring continue through November and into next
if you're looking for work, or have been thinking of making a change in
jobs, the conditions for making a leap are looking better than they have
in quite some time.
How long does it take to find work?
new job takes time. Job searches can last anywhere from two days to over
a year, but for most people it is roughly four months. The largest
group, 50% of people surveyed by Workopolis, told us that it took
16 weeks to secure
their most recent job.
slightly shorter than the Canadian average duration of
unemployment-period reported by Statistics Canada as being 20.6 weeks
earlier this year.)
those four months, the majority of Canadians (65%) say that they
applied to more
than 10 opportunities
before being hired for their most recent job. Most people (80 per cent)
say that they apply for at least five jobs just in order to secure one
roughly corresponds to what employers tell us about 80% of the resumes
receive not making it past their initial screening to be shortlisted for
2% of applicants for a job are chosen
for an interview. This is because a large portion of resumes are never
actually read by a human being, as the screening software that more and
more companies use will filter out applications that don't contain the
most relevant keywords the employer is looking for.
you can greatly
increase your application to interview ratio.
half (56%) of candidates said that they only had to conduct
one or two job
interviews in order
to be hired. A further 30% of people said that they needed to perform
five or more job interviews before being hired for their most recent
It took most
Canadians polled 16 weeks to secure their most recent job
time most people submit at least 10 applications
56% are hired
after 1 or 2 job interviews
Interestingly (and this was surprising to us here), nearly half of
people (46%) said that they did not follow-up at all after a job
interview. This includes not sending in a thank you note to their
this crucial step can hurt your chances of landing the job. It's common
courtesy to thank the employer for taking the time to meet with you and
discuss your candidacy. All of the top, most savvy candidates will be
following up on interviews with a polite note of appreciation. By
skipping this, you're taking yourself out of that group.
also use this follow-up to restate your enthusiasm for the job and to
highlight how you are the right fit for it. Refer to the interview
specifically, demonstrating that you pay attention to detail and recall
extra mile in your job search makes you stand out from the crowd of
applicants who didn't — and it indicates to employers that you're
motivated to go the extra mile on the job as well. And that's who gets
hired first and fastest.
Career Gambles You'll Regret Taking
By Elizabeth Bromstein
it can be a great idea to gamble with your career. The world is full of
stories of people who quit day jobs to become millionaire entrepreneurs
or famous authors, or to devote their lives to philanthropy. But there
are also risks you should never take, actions that might seem like good
ideas at the time, but that are far more likely to make things worse
rather than better. Read on for four of these.
gambles you should never take.
another job offer
Maybe you're gunning for a raise. Maybe you're trying
to speed up the hiring process. The process has gone well so far. You
aced the interviews, and now you're just waiting to hear back. It's
taken months and you're wondering what the harm would be in telling them
you've had another offer and would like to know if they're still
interested, so you can make a decision.
there's a good chance they're not stalling for the sake of stalling and
that they can't speed up the process, so if you tell them they have to
hurry, they're likely to say "OK then, we'll have to go with someone
else." Also, people in the same industry tend to know each other. It
would be terrible if someone from the company met someone you both know
— say at an industry event — and if somehow your name came up, and the
mutual acquaintance was like, "What job offer? He's still looking and
living in his mom's basement." Now you're out of a job and a known liar.
boss the "Give me a raise or I quit" ultimatum
You need more money.
You've got mortgage payments. So, you steel your nerves, walk into your
boss's office and say "Jane, I need a raise, and if I don't get it I'm
going to have to start looking for another job." Or some variation
thereupon (see also: making up a job offer).
Jane say? She says, "I'm sorry to hear that you're leaving us. I'll
start looking for your replacement right away."
think that, if you're a valued employee, the company will do what it can
to keep you. But the ultimatum raises a red flag about your commitment
to the company, and companies — even disloyal ones — don't want disloyal
employees. Look for another job and, if when you find one, hand in your
notice — even if you like the company. Honestly, I hate this advice. I'd
like to say that you should be able to openly communicate your needs to
your employer, but every manager I spoke to advised against it.
Subterfuge is the way to go here. It's a cold world.
your work history
Not long ago, our tech team had an interview with a
candidate who claimed to have worked at Blackberry. Since one of the
interviewers had also worked at Blackberry, he asked what building the
candidate worked in, and to whom he reported. It turned out the
candidate never actually worked there, and fairly readily admitted so.
You never know who you might meet. Think about it. If you're lying about
a job in the field in which you're applying for a job, the odds of
getting caught are very high. Also, if you are going to lie (which we
don't condone but we can't stop you) at least do a minimum of research
into your lie. The candidate could have at least gotten a manager's name
and looked at a map of the RIM grounds. Seriously, he cracked under the
tiniest bit of pressure. His attempt was shoddy on all levels.
we ran a story about Alaska TV reporter Charlo Greene,
who made headlines when she quit her job to focus full time on the
medical marijuana dispensary she runs, and the fight to legalize medical
marijuana in Alaska. How did Greene quit? Live, on camera, by saying
"F*** it, I quit," then walking off the set and leaving her coworkers to
cover for her.
went viral and many applauded her the move. Unfortunately, as career
guides, we felt compelled to point out that this is the worst possible
way to quit your job. While she did bring attention to her cause, Greene
embarrassed her bosses, and left her colleagues to clean up the mess. If
she ever needs a job, she's probably not going to get one in
broadcasting, and probably not in the town of Anchorage, which has a
population of fewer than 400,000.
Greene won't need a job and maybe it was the right move for her. But for
most people, this is the wrong move. As tempting as it might be to go
out with a bang, don't burn bridges. Try to keep all your relationships
intact, and leave the place better than you found it.
How to Increase
Your Application to Interview Ratio
By Peter Harris
likely spent hours crafting the perfect resume for that next job you're
after, written and re-written it, tweaked the intro, edited it and had a
friend proofread it for you. The sad truth about resumes is that even if
it is ever read by an employer, they'll probably glance at it for mere
seconds before moving on.
It took the
majority of Canadians surveyed an average of 10 applications and two
interviews in order to land their most recent jobs. Here is how you can
increase your application to interview ratio.
resume to have a chance at landing you an interview, it first has to be
read by an employer. Because many companies filter incoming job
applications through Applicant Tracking Systems, the odds are that if
your resume doesn't include the right combination of relevant keywords
it will never be read at all. Read the job posting carefully and make
sure that your resume includes the same terms that the employer is
you've passed the software screening, we know from Workopolis research
that the vast majority of
employers spend less than 11 seconds on
their first review of a resume. And 80% of those resumes are rejected
after this initial scan.
In order to
make the initial cut, you have to have the basic information that
employers look for first.
include your location, your most recent job and previous employers, your
skillset and education. If it looks like your career path is a fit for
the job, and you have the basic qualifications, you stand a decent
chance of making it to the next round. Employers tell us that a
staggering 75% of applications they receive are from unqualified or
for jobs for which you meet at least the majority of qualifications.
There is such a thing as 'credential creep' where employers ask for a
wish-list of qualifications that no one applicant is likely to have, so
don't worry of you fall short in a few areas. Just make sure that you
can clearly demonstrate that you have the skills and experience to
contribute and succeed at the job — and you'll see your application to
interview ratio noticeably rise.
just the first glance — of the 20% that survive the first round of
scrutiny, still only 2% of applicants are called for interviews. So what
happened to the other 18%?
resume has been shortlisted, employers will take a longer look to
further scrutinize the details. And that's where the wheels come off for
most of the remaining applicants.
The details that get resumes tossed
Unsurprisingly, any typos or spelling mistakes
that were missed in the initial reading of your resume will sink your
chances upon closer reading. When employers are looking through numerous
resumes trying to pick the best few to interview, why would they select
someone who hasn't taken care enough to submit an error-free
application? It speaks to a candidate's motivation, attention to detail,
or capabilities. You look like you either can't produce work without
mistakes — or you're simply not motivated enough to bother producing it.
A lack of a focus.
If your resume doesn't highlight how your skills and experience can
relate specifically to the job you're applying for, it won't make the
cut. A targeted, focused resume from a candidate who has done their
homework and is genuinely trying to make a connection with a specific
employer and job will always be more attractive than a generic
application — even if their credentials are equivalent.
You're in the wrong industry.
If you have the skills and experience to match with the requirements of
the job, but you've never worked in the field before, you're starting
off with a disadvantage to those candidates from that sector. Do the
math for the hiring manager. Prove you're the right person for the job.
Give them a clear list of the ways in which you meet the job posting
TMI (Too much information).
We received a resume here that included this line in the objective
statement: "Must be for a company that highly values diversity and
sustainability." I actually do value both of those things. However a
candidate making such demands in the first line of their resume stops me
from bothering to read the rest of it. Show me why I would want to hire
you in the first place before you start making demands about my values.
similarly complain of too much personal information, weird hobbies,
family details, long-winded explanations of career goals, reasons for
leaving previous employers.
In a recent
example we called 'The
Worst Resume Ever' a candidate revealed
several reasons he had spent time in jail. (While you may want to bring
this up before a background check, there's no reason to list crimes in
Unexplained red flags.
Job hopping may be the new normal, as
most people change jobs every two-three years,
but if you've had six jobs in a three year period, it can make employers
nervous. Similarly if there are long periods between jobs on your
resume, it's better to fill in those gaps with a summary of what you
were doing at the time.
managers form their first impressions of what you are like and what you
can do based on reading your resume. Paying attention to detail and
focusing on the specific job at hand can greatly increase your chances
getting your resume past the ATS software scan, surviving the employer's
initial 11-second reading, and standing up to further scrutiny in order
to be shortlisted for a job interview.
the Problem is You
By Elizabeth Bromstein
work relationships difficult? Is your job hard to do because everyone
around you is incompetent? Is everyone a jerk? Is hell other people? Is
the man keeping you down?
disclosure: when I was younger, I thought I was smarter than everyone
else. Eventually I realized that they weren't stupid. I was. It was a
hard lesson. But I'm glad I learned it. I have to say I know some people
who have yet to do so.
six indicators that the problem isn't everyone else, it's you. If you
see yourself here, don't feel bad. I understand. I've been there.
else is an idiot.
Seriously. How can people be so stupid all the time?
How did these people even get hired? They don't even know how to do
their own jobs. And the clients? They're all boneheads who don't know
what they want or what's good for them. You feel like the one
intelligent person who was dropped into a land of imbeciles.
around you is so dumb you can barely handle it, the problem is likely
really smart. Not all people but lots of them. They invented math and
science and toilets and the internet. Did you invent any of these
things? No? Then maybe you're not the smartest person in the world. You
need to learn to listen and realize that maybe you're not right about
You have to
do everything yourself.
Because if you didn't do it, someone else would
mess it up, right? And nobody else is doing their job properly. You have
to take care of everything. How does anyone manage to do anything when
you're not around?
have control issues.
over the world, and probably even in your workplace, are accomplishing
things without your help and those things are turning out just fine.
Great even. Step back, take a breath and give people their due. Let go.
Nobody wants to work with a control freak.
an endless run of difficult bosses.
Your boss is a total jerk, your
previous boss was a bonehead, and the one before that was a twit.
They're always putting you on projects that are a waste of time and you
know for sure you could do their jobs better than they all can. With
your eyes closed. And one hand tied behind your back.
your next boss is going to be an incompetent nincompoop. They'll be
horrible bosses until you realize it's you who needs to learn to deal
with authority and criticism.
always standing in your way.
You couldn't finish the spreadsheet because
Bob didn't get you the numbers and that report wasn't done on time
because Mary didn't give you the information you needed. You couldn't
make copies because Mark was hogging the machine. You shouldn't have to
work around everyone else's incompetence. It's not your job.
probably the public transit's fault that you're always late, and your
friend's faults that you have difficult relationships.
everything is always someone else's fault, it's possible that you have a
slight issue with taking personal responsibility. People who blame
everything on others are very unpleasant to be around and, of course, to
knows how to communicate.
People are so difficult to talk to. Everyone
has an attitude, they don't listen and they never seem to understand
what you're trying to get across. You're always at an impasse and
conversations often seem to escalate into arguments.
you. Is everyone arguing with everyone else or only with you? If that's
the case, it's time for you to take some sort of course on how to
communicate, or risk a very serious negative effect on your career.
Jim is cheating on his wife, with Caroline from
accounting of all people. Melanie doesn't know how to raise her kids,
Bethany has a gambling problem, Ian has been yoyo dieting for years but
everyone knows he stuffs his face with chocolate cake at his desk when
he thinks nobody is looking, and Paula's love life is a mess. She really
needs to get it together and stop sleeping around.
Why do you
know all this? It's none of your business. The office gossip is at best
out of line and at worst a scourge.
everyone else is talking behind everyone's back, it's the wrong way to
behave. In this case, you're all the problem. Learn to mind your Ps and
Qs, as they say.
in a while it's true that the problem is other people. But, honestly,
you very carefully. If everyone else is an idiot, the truth is that the
problem is probably you.