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The Top 6 Resume Flaws & How You Can Fix Them

A resume helps to form the first impressions an employer will make about a job applicant, and the smallest mistake could see that resume tossed to the bottom of the pile or even into the trashcan. Avoiding common resume flaws makes landing that interview much easier and also requires the job seeker to explain fewer problems with the resume during the interview process. Here’s how to deal with the most common resume flaws.

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1. No experience

Everyone is new to the workforce at one point in his or her life, but it’s not impossible to work past this shortcoming. A thin resume without a healthy job history needs to include related activities and valuable experiences like internships, volunteer activities, and job-related skills. Anything that might be interpreted as experience should be included as long as it’s not too far in the past.

2. Lengthy resumes

Although some industries do accommodate a lengthy resume, most job seekers need to avoid sending out resumes that exceed a page or two at most. Consider eliminating full job descriptions for jobs held at least ten years ago and offering a paragraph or two describing early work experience instead of defining each and every job held.

3. Too many jobs

Lucky are the job seekers who find a job and stick with a company for several decades. Many workers today will switch companies every few years due to economic issues and job satisfaction, and this might look suspect on a resume. Instead of trying to hide frequent job switches, provide an explanation as to the reason for departure such as “company downsized” or “job was relocated.”

4. Employment gap

A worker who stays out of the workforce for many years risks missing important new developments and advancements within his or her industry. Companies usually don’t like to see a large gap in work experience. A simple method to mask such gaps in employment is to define each job held by the number of years spent at that company instead of labeling the job by the calendar year in which it was held.

5. Inapplicable college degree

Spending four years (or even longer) in college only to realize that there aren’t any jobs in a particular industry, or a person’s interests lie elsewhere often requires trying to find a job in an industry where a degree might be irrelevant. Although some industries do require specific training in school for entry level work, many industries don’t require a specific degree. Additionally, a job seeker can play up his or her skills on a resume instead of focusing upon the degree’s specialization.

6. Entering a new field

For individuals with lengthy careers behind them who are looking to jump into a new industry, it’s necessary here as well to focus upon the skills obtained during that career instead of the particulars of the industry itself. Many companies will find a worker with a decade’s worth of experience managing employees is a valuable addition to the company even if that worker spent time in a completely different industry. Universal job skills will offer value across many different industries.

A resume is a fragile document meant to showcase a job seeker’s strengths and value, and it is very easy to include unnecessary information or common mistakes within the text. A job seeker should update his or her resume each time it is sent out to a new company and make sure that the information provided is applicable to the job sought.

Tina Javier is currently working for a resume review company. When she is not trying to help people land jobs, she loves to offer advice and tips on her personal blog.

Tim Esterdahl

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