Your resume is often the first contact you make with a potential employer or college admissions officer, and it can make or break your chances of getting to the next step in the process. Avoid common resume mistakes that could cost you the job (or keep you from getting into your favorite college).
Failure to demonstrate results
The responsibilities of a role or position often can be reasonably implied in its name, says Laurie Berenson, founder of Sterling Career Concepts. But "too often resumes focus on responsibilities when they can be a lot more compelling if they painted a picture of expectations and results."
Forcing keywords and cramming information
No one will be able to read your resume if you've tried to cram in too much information in 8-point type, and no one wants to read that much anyway. If you try to stuff your resume with keywords, the live human recruiters who still have to scan it will not be impressed.
"Keep it simple and focus on experience and accomplishments. Don't overload your resume with keywords in hope of passing a keyword search by a potential employer," says Agility Group HR consultant Stephen Murray.
Making spelling and grammar mistakes
Paying attention to your periods and commas could mean the difference between a callback and never hearing anything. Proofread it one more time before you send it off.
Straying into the irrelevant
You don't need to put everything you've ever done on your resume. In fact, too much irrelevant history could obscure the parts of your resume that demonstrate your worth and usefulness to an employer's company, says career management coach Laura Rose.
Not being yourself
If your personality gets lost beneath all the business jargon and tired cliches, employers might throw your resume into the rejection pile because it doesn't resonate with them and highlight that you'd be a perfect fit for their company.
"Reframe your thinking for resume writing: Think of it as an instruction manual for how an employer can make the best of what you have to offer, or write from the context of already having the job and reminding the person of why they hired you," says career counselor Sabrina Ali.