Top 10 Resume Mistakes
- Too long – Resumes should be restricted to one or two pages. If you have trouble condensing it, get help from a technical or business writer.
- Typographical, grammatical or spelling errors – These errors suggest carelessness, poor education and/or lack of intelligence. Don’t rely fully on a computer’s spell-checkers or grammar checkers and have at least two people proofread your resume.
- Hard to read – Use a plain typeface, no smaller than a 12-point font. Asterisks, bullets, underlining, boldface type and italics should be used only to make the document easier to read, not fancier.
- Too verbose (using too many words to say too little) – Do not use complete sentences or paragraphs. Say as much as possible with as few words as possible. A, an, and the can almost always be left out. Be careful in your use of jargon and avoid slang.
- Too sparse – Give more than the bare essentials, especially when describing related work experience, skills and accomplishments that will give employers desired information.
- Irrelevant information – Customize each resume to each position you seek (when possible). Of course, include all education and work experience, but emphasize only relevant experience, skills and accomplishments. Do not include marital status, age, sex, children, height, weight, health, church membership, etc.
- Obviously generic – Too many resumes scream, “I need a job—any job!” The employer needs to feel you are interested in that position with that company.
- Too snazzy – More and more companies are scanning resumes into a database, so use plain type and avoid symbols, underlining, italics and borders.
- Boring – Make your resume as dynamic as possible. Begin every statement with an action verb. Use active verbs describing what you accomplished on the job and avoid repeating words, especially the first word in a section.
- Too modest – The resume showcases your qualifications in competition with the other applicants. Put your best foot forward without misrepresentation, falsification or arrogance.
Before the Interview
- Do your homework – Interviewers expect you to know something about their company. Any of the following sources can help you obtain information:
- Company Website
- Library for annual reports
- Contact the company for literature or a brochure
- Internet research sites
- Examine your resumé – Make sure your resumé is properly formatted with correct spelling and punctuation. Also, be prepared to explain anything on your resumé, especially if your reason for leaving any job is not clear.
- Review – Prior to the interview, review your job strengths, skills, accomplishments and experience and present them in a positive manner. Have a friend or relative ask the more difficult questions or topics that may be covered.
- Choose your wardrobe – Plan your attire appropriately in a manner that would be pleasing to your interviewer.
- Practice your responses to anticipated interview questions – While the types of questions differ depending on the interviewing style, job-seekers must plan and be prepared for the typical types of questions. You should not memorize answers, but script specific responses so that you will be able to remember more details when asked the question in the interview. Below are a few possible interview questions:
- Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
- Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
- Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.
- Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
- Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion.
- Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
- Please discuss an important written document you were required to complete.
- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
- Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
- Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision.
- What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
- Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
- Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made in the last year.
- Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed.
- Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
- Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
- Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
- Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
- Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
- Tell me about a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.
- Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
- Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
- Please tell me about a time you had to fire a friend.
- Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low).
- Describe a process that you have improved. Specifically, the steps you took to improve the process and the results attained through the improvement.
- Tell us about a situation where you and a manager disagreed. What steps did you take to resolve the disagreement and the resolution reached.
- Describe a critical decision that you have had to make including the processing of weighing the pros and cons and the result or outcome of your decision.
At the Interview
- Be punctual – Give yourself enough time so you can arrive a minimum of 15 minutes early. Being late for an interview could prevent you from getting the job. You can even consider taking a practice run to the location where you are having the interview — or be sure you know exactly where it is and how long it takes to get there.
- Be perceptive – As you enter the office, look for clues about hobbies, interests, company awards, something you can discuss briefly with your interviewer. Do not bring up subjective topics like religion or politics.
- Walk with confidence.
- Shake hands firmly and smile.
- Sit up tall with feet together and hands in lap.
- Keep your hands inactive and away from your face.
- Look at your interviewer and maintain eye contact.
- Be enthusiastic and interested in the company.
- Always use proper grammar and speak clearly.
- Ask specific questions pertaining to job responsibilities and job requirements. Demonstrate a keen interest in the job and relate your eagerness and ability to adapt to a new work environment. However, use caution and don’t interview the company.
- Target your answers specifically to the questions asked.
- Refrain from talking too much.
- Do not respond to questions with merely “yes” or “no”.
- Expand on each questions adequately.
- Provide examples of your accomplishments.
- Don’t dwell on criticism of your present or previous employers.
- Salary and benefits should not be discussed. AcctKnowledge will negotiate for you.
Interview Do's and Dont's
- Be on time.
- Dress appropriately.
- Be confident and smile.
- Do your homework on the company.
- Take several copies of your resumé.
- Have pen and paper handy to take notes.
- Ask specific questions about job responsibilities.
- Have a calendar with you.
- Keep a detailed list of jobs history, dates, addresses, phone numbers and references to complete application.
- Be late.
- Chew gum.
- Smoke (even if invited).
- Ask questions about salary and benefits.
After the Interview
Always send a note to your interviewer to express both an interest in the position and your thanks for the time you were given. Remember the names of any associates or assistants you meet. Thank them as you leave, and call them by name.