Resume writing again? Well, dear one, the road you’re on is not a simple one – and that’s what we’re are going to discuss. In line with our previous pieces on the importance of writing the right resumes, the small facets that can make or break a resume, getting help in writing your resume – we come back to resume mistakes which can still come back to haunt you.
Resume mistakes – Why do These Happen?
Caution: The areas which we classify as resume mistakes here, may be honest errors (grammatical, factual) or slight to obvious cover-ups in order to appear to be a ‘good fit’ candidate. We have classified these in order of the concern they can draw from your future employer and haunt your chances beyond the recruitment exercise.
1. Lies and Half Truths:
“We have all been enticed by recruiters, with claims of jobs with top-line brands. I got such a call too”, shared a common friend, beginning her tale over why she made this mistake. At the recruiter’s decrepit, basement-based office, he promised a job with a G&**@# – if she could ‘prepare’ for it. And she fell for it.
The result? A redone resume plus a worried candidate trying to keep her story straight. She got in – before a routine employee check gave it away. And ensured that she was fired for it.
Lies and half-truths have a way of coming back. Getting caught with lies on your resume can lead to an instant firing – even CEOs (ask once Yahoo CEO, Scott Thompson).
What kind of lies and half-truths are commonly found on resumes?
a) Educational qualifications
b) Work experience – results and achievements
c) Gaps in your work experience
d) Made-up employers
e) Job Titles
2. Sketchy job details:
Often intentional, these kinds of resume mistakes stem from the first set and equally sabotage careers, leading to uneasy questions, even firings. And they are really not required – they’re unfair, play you in as a liar and create a negative impression; instead of letting you showcase yourself and your passion for a position or a job.
Hiding career gaps are resume mistakes you should ideally avoid – while you may wish to avoid attention towards a certain gap, you may end up drawing more of it.
These are the kind of sketchy job details that are often found on resumes:
a. Omitting dates/months altogether
b. Showing too many jobs
c. Lack of job achievements (measurable ones)
d. Too many buzzwords/keywords
3. Contact Information – Unupdated:
You applied with a great resume. And never got a callback? The fault may lie in a simple-enough detail. A factor which played in our recent blog on the great resume checklist, this can be genuine resume mistake, a detail which you forgot to check on before you hastened in sending it across.
Ensure that the following details are clear:
a. Email ID
b. Phone number
c. Permanent / contact address (for documentation)
d. Full name
However, from an employer’s perspective, it raises a lot of questions if you get these details wrong and can lead to a terse round of questioning – particularly if the error happens in your name and address details.
4. Information red flags:
Often the HR round is expected to be about determining whether a candidate in questions fits into the organisational structure. In a recent piece on campus placement processes, we explored that it also helps them point out information red flags. Here are some of them:
a. Grammar / Factual errors
b. Vague words
c. Too much personal information
d. Job hopping
5. Previous job contacts as references:
Using your boss or colleagues as references for a prospective job can and often does become a resume mistake in hindsight. How? Your job search becomes evident as soon as the HR connects with them to verify your details.
Further, you need to check in with them on whether they’re comfortable being your references BEFORE you choose to cite them. They might have had a less than pleasant experience with you and can provide your new company with that information, or even divulge the true reason why you’re parting with them.
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