Are You Making These Resume and LinkedIn Mistakes?

By Zach Seybert
In October 4, 2017

These days looking for and applying to a job can be done with just a few clicks of the mouse. Always wanted to live and work in Chicago? Thanks to various job boards and websites you can apply to as many jobs as your heart desires and even look up potential apartments if all goes well. Looking for a new job where you currently live? A few more clicks and voila, you have begun the search for your next job.

While it sounds incredibly easy, the difficult part becomes differentiating your application from the hundreds (if not thousands) of others who have applied to the same position. Because of the convenience of applying to jobs online, gone are the days of physically handing your resume and application to someone in person. As mentioned in past NexGoal articles, you have one chance to make a good first impression in the digital age, so if your resume is littered with mistakes the odds are against you.

Given the digital nature of job applications these days, having a LinkedIn has become almost imperative as a professional. Your profile allows you to showcase examples from your work experience, connect with others in similar roles and even apply for jobs. As a digital extension of your resume, what you say on your profile is very important. (Did you see our article from last week – “Five Things Your Resume Needs“?)

In order to stand out among the crowd, it is key to avoid mistakes on both your resume and LinkedIn so when hiring managers and recruiters come across them they are not as likely to move on without reviewing. The question becomes “what do I include and what do I exclude?” By knowing what those in charge of the employment screening process are looking for, you can tailor your resume to ensure that it does not get overlooked.

Thanks to an article titled, “These 6 Things are Killing Your Resume and LinkedIn Profiles” by our friends over at TopResume, you can avoid these mistakes and land that job. For the sake of article length, we will focus on three of the six in this article, but be sure to check out the full article here.

Show them you’re an achiever, not just a doer.

When listing your job experience on a resume, it is common to use a phrase starting with “responsible for…” The problem with this approach is that it is essentially a regurgitation of the job description crafted by HR at the company. Those viewing your resume want to see what you actually did, in your own words.

One way to do this is by using strong descriptive words. For example, if you were tasked with managing the social media account of the company, rather than writing “Responsible for managing company’s social media account,” instead try, “Created and executed social media plan for company account based on department goals.”

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Be sure to eliminate mistakes.

While this point seems to be self-explanatory, job applicants still submit resumes/applications with mistakes on them. Although we are all human and mistakes happen, limiting them, especially during the application process, is important. The worst thing you can do is claim to be “detail-oriented” but have spelling mistakes on your resume/LinkedIn profile.

Following the advice of “sometimes the best things are left unsaid,” there are ways to portray your attention to detail without actually saying it. Using tools and resources available to you, such as spell check, can help ensure you avoid silly grammatical or spelling mistakes. By not having any mistakes on your application materials, the person reviewing it can see that you are detail-oriented rather than having you say it.

Remove the “fluff” from your words.

According to many professional resume writers, there is a fine line between not promoting yourself enough and over-promotion – both of which can influence a hiring decision. TopResume says that stuffing your content with “fluff” is much worse. The most common ways people stuff their resume are by using the following descriptions: self-starter and team player.

The reason employers cringe when they read these terms is that while you might have every intention of showing your worth to the company, by including these descriptions on your resume, you are actually not saying much. These days, saying you are a “self-starter” sends the message that you have no meaningful information or are under-qualified for the job, according to TopResume. Companies also expect all employees and new hires to be able to work together, so the same goes for saying you are a “team player.”

Wrap Up

As has been mentioned in previous NexGoal articles, your first impression in the digital age is out of your hands. If you avoid making various mistakes and be sure to include essential elements on your resume and LinkedIn page, you are will set yourself up for success in the job search. By knowing what to look for when editing your resume for each job you apply to, chances are that you will stand out to the hiring manager, which is the first step and often most difficult part of the hiring process.

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Zach is a Digital Content and Marketing Specialist with NexGoal, who specializes in creating career transition and job search preparation content.