Are you preparing a resume? It’s natural to want to tell prospective employers all about yourself — but some things are better left unsaid.
Remember, you have only a limited amount of space to convince someone you would be a good hire. So, avoid including anything that might offend, or cause an employer to question your abilities.
Following are seven things to avoid on your resume.
Criticism of past employers
A sure way to put off a potential employer is to waste space on your resume criticizing past employers or supervisors. You may feel perfectly justified in your criticism, but the purpose of a resume is to showcase talents and abilities, not to air grievances.
Don’t give prospective employers the impression that you are disloyal or generally disgruntled. Instead, write about your positive relationships and accomplishments. Tell people about the good things you can bring to their business if they give you the opportunity.
Excuses for past problems
If you have been laid off or dismissed from a job, you may feel the need to explain the situation in your resume. It’s natural to want to tell your side of the story, especially if you feel that you were not at fault.
However, it’s easy to spend too much time discussing disappointments and missed opportunities. You may give the impression you aren’t taking responsibility for your own mistakes.
A better approach is to write about past successes. If you are called upon to explain a layoff or dismissal in an interview, be honest, but brief. Let people know that your focus is on the future.
When a job applicant lists skills unrelated to job performance, it can appear that he or she has no valuable skills to showcase. Instead, describe the things you’ve learned that have improved your performance on the job. For example:
- Do you have great internet skills?
- Did you pursue special training to enhance your contribution in past jobs?
- Are you attending school to earn an advanced degree or certificate?
Focus on recent achievements in your resume. If something happened 10 or 15 years ago, prospective employers may get the impression your successes are behind you.
So, leave out that Cub Scout merit badge.
Poor grammar and spelling
If you submit a resume with misspellings, typos or grammatical errors, you are unlikely to score a job interview. Even if you are in a field where the proper use of language seems unimportant, most employers want to know that their hires have good communication skills.
Grammatical mistakes on your resume can signal you’re careless and possibly unreliable. A resume free of errors lets recruiters know you’re serious about the job.
Too much information
Recruiters have a limited amount of time to sort through applications. So, keep it brief.
When screening applicants, recruiters look for experience, training and past employment. If you write in great detail about every job you’ve ever had, you may overwhelm. Worse, the information that makes you stand out as an applicant might get overlooked.
In most cases, submitting one or two pages worth of information is adequate. You can expand on your qualifications once you get to the interview stage.
Anything that isn’t true
You may be tempted to exaggerate skills, training or accomplishments. However, doing so always is a mistake. Once you put something in writing, you can’t take it back. Even if it helps you land a job, the lie may resurface years later and damage your reputation or career.
So don’t exaggerate qualifications. If you don’t have a college degree, describe the training you’ve received on the job. The best way to get a resume filled with accomplishments is to do work that you’re proud of.
What wisdom — or painful lessons — can you share about your job searches? Tell us in comments below or on our Facebook page.