Since starting Luminari I’ve reviewed countless resumes and noticed some common big mistakes that are made way too often. Every role is different, and each hiring manager will be looking for different things.
But if your resume has any of the following traits, I’d strongly consider an update:
Key Info is Hard to Find
Hiring managers spend an average of 7 seconds on each resume. Hand your resume to a friend and ask them to find the following information in 7 seconds. Your resume isn’t finished until they can:
- Company, title, location and duration of tenure at your past 2 or 3 jobs
- Anything specifically required for the job (designations, specific technical skills, etc.)
It’s way too long.
Highly experienced professionals with decades of experience usually limit their resumes to two, maximum three, pages. If yours is longer than that, it’s most certainly too long. Don’t have more than a few bullets for any role. Less is more. A one page resume is ideal!
You called it something confusing or ambiguous.
In 7 seconds they won’t read much, but 100% of the time they read the title of the file. Call it something sensible like “Name – Resume”. If you call it just “Resume” or “C2Xe3T” (yes I’ve seen stuff like this), how easy will it be for them to find yours? And if you named it something ambiguous or lazy, what message are you sending?
Your formatting is strange
Every hiring manager is different, so you’ll never pick the ‘perfect’ formatting. But I see countless resumes that look plain awful. Google “good resume” and if yours looks vastly different from the first couple hits then copy one of them! At least for ‘professional’ jobs, don’t be creative. No colours, no headshot, and no artistic fonts.
You didn’t read the job description, and it’s obvious.
Job descriptions often include a lot of superfluous info, but after one or two readings you should be able to focus in on what they really care about. Make sure all of your skills and experiences that directly correlate are right up front and easy to see (again within 7 seconds). You can use a “profile” or “summary section” for this. The fewer words the better. Again, you’ll never get this perfect, but it’s perfectly obvious when you didn’t bother trying.
You can’t explain everything in your resume, so don’t try. Just make sure hiring managers can quickly find the information they care about most. Remember the resume’s purpose is to get you the interview, not the job.
PS: I almost feel like it shouldn’t be mentioned so it’s in the PS, check your grammar. If you’re bad at grammar (I’m awful at it), then find someone who isn’t to look it over.