It is amazing to stand back and look at the way the entire job hunting experience has changed in the course of the past 20 years. Just consider that it used to be “standard procedure” to look through a printed newspaper’s “Help Wanted” ads in order to find almost any kind of work. From corporate leadership positions to part time jobs meant to be temporary work at best, the only place to look was the newspaper.
Today, you go to the Internet and use specific job engines through which employers of all sizes seek potential staff and employees. You can then do the entire application process online too, but there is still one thing that remains from the “old days,” and that is the resume.
For instance, go ahead and tackle a lengthy job application and then wait for that moment when the program asks if you have a resume. It will then allow you to load that resume from your computer to theirs, and only then will the process be considered complete.
This means that you still have to strive to make a resume that is well-formatted and which makes you really stand out from the crowd. It also means that you need to avoid the very worst of the resume mistakes. So, let’s take a look at some that end up costing you an opportunity instead of putting you ahead of the crowd:
1. Poorly formatted resume documents – With all of the functions built into even the worst word processing programs, you should never have a resume that is sloppily formatted or badly structured. You should also never have a resume that becomes cluttered or skewed when sent over the Internet. This means ensuring that you use a standard font, no graphics or tables, and that it is saved in a format that all computers and operating software can manage.
2. Too many references – Although the standard option is to indicate that references are available on request, you can include them without penalty. The time that this choice is going to “hurt” you is when you have more than the obligatory four people listed. Too many references are annoying, overwhelming and unproductive.
3. Understand your goals and use the keywords – Any job engine searching used keywords, right? You typed in the work you wanted to do…guess what? Those employers use that same function when looking for resumes and if you fail to incorporate those keywords into your electronic resume, they are not going to find you in their system!