3 Resume Mistakes that WILL Cost You a Job

May 11, 2016
5 min read

A great resume can open doors. Likewise, a poor resume can lock them shut. Make sure yours is great by avoiding these mistakes.

When looking for a job, your resume is just like your Facebook profile picture…it is the first thing people look at to get an idea of who you are.

All too often, great candidates present a sub-par resume and miss out on an opportunity that could have been perfect for them. Don’t be one of those job-seekers. As a new graduate, you have much to offer. Make sure your resume is a glowing testament to your achievements by avoiding these three mistakes…each of which will almost certainly make a future employer say, “NEXT!”

Mistake #3: Out-of-date or insufficient information

Many applicants wonder what information they should include in their resumes, and while having eye-catching achievements peppered throughout the document is important, making sure that information is current and complete is equally as vital.

The very first segment of your resume will include your contact information. Make sure your name, email, address and phone number are accurate.

There is nothing that will turn off an employer faster than trying to email a candidate and having that message bounce back or calling and getting someone other than the applicant.

In the body of your resume, you will include your history: your employment, education, awards, etc. Make sure you update this section each time one of these categories changes.

You don’t want to send out a resume that states you are a first-year optometry student when in fact you’re about to graduate. You also don’t want your resume to say you are currently working somewhere if you’ve moved on.

This sounds like common sense, but all too often people forget to update their information and send out a resume that misrepresents the applicant’s current status. If caught, this will certainly not bode well for the job hunt.

One of the most overlooked mistakes applicants make when creating their resume is leaving out information that would help the employer understand the seeker’s qualifications.

Don’t only list “Smith’s Eye Care” in your employment history. Instead, expound on that experience by listing your exact job title and a brief description of your responsibilities.

This will allow anyone reviewing your resume to know exactly what areas you have experience in, and therefore, increase your chances of proving you are the best candidate for the job.

Mistake #2: Poor references

A reference, whether given willingly at the bottom of your resume or held until requested, should ALWAYS be someone who will represent you in the way you would want an employer to see you.

A negative or unimpressive account of your qualifications from one reference could easily cost you a call back from a potential employer.

However, if you follow these tips, you can ensure your references help your efforts instead of hurting them.

  1. Make sure you vet those whom you plan to list well. Select choices who are well-spoken and articulate and who have known you in the recent past. In other words, a childhood friend whom you haven’t spoken to in years is not the best choice.
  2. Let those you select know that you will be listing them so that, when called, they are not blindsided. This way, they can already have in mind an idea of what they will say about you if they are contacted.
  3. Try to avoid choosing family members or friends. Your references should be people who have known you in a professional capacity and can speak to your work character without bias. Old professors, colleagues, or supervisors with whom you had a positive working relationship are great choices.

Mistake #1: Incorrect Spelling and/or Grammar

As a person responsible for hiring new staff, I can personally guarantee that spelling and grammar inaccuracies automatically make a candidate less attractive.

The presence of these types of errors often triggers one of two thoughts…either 1- the applicant did not care enough to take the time to proofread his or her resume and/or is not detail-oriented enough to catch the mistakes OR 2- he or she is not intelligent enough to know that there are mistakes.

Neither assumption is a desirable one.

You may be wondering why I made this point #1 since it seems like common sense to avoid these blunders. The reason behind its ranking is that, although everyone knows you should proofread, spelling and grammar mistakes persist in alarming frequency. 

Take the time to make sure your resume is pristine. Enlist someone to proofread it for you if you are afraid you may have overlooked something.

Give yourself a break between when you type the document and when you review it so that your brain doesn’t just assume you’ve typed what you meant to type.

I promise you, the extra effort will be worth it.

You are too smart and have worked too hard to let a simple slip-up cost you a chance at your future.

Your resume should be your calling card, and when done properly, it can open doors to any type of opportunity you are seeking. Make it count. Update it often. And always make sure it reflects just how awesome you are.

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About Patricia Fulmer, OD, FAAO

Dr. Fulmer is the sole owner of Legacy Vision Center, a cold start, medically focused practice in Huntsville, AL, which launched at the end of 2020. A graduate of the UAB School of Optometry, she completed an ocular disease and …

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