1. Never Lie On Your Resume
With resume reviews, one area that can get you into hot water in an interview is if you lie on your resume about skill sets you don’t have. Some job seekers look up sample resumes online, which is fine as a reference point. If you need keywords, you can also reference a thesaurus, but don’t use skill sets you don’t have. Instead, optimize your wording. Instead of writing that you’re “good at” include that you’re “proficient in”. Instead of “knows how” you can try “knowledgeable of” or “well-versed in”. Instead of “was never late” try “used excellent time management”.
2. Avoid Using Slang in Your Interviews
Annunciating your words properly and speaking clearly helps with interviewing. Instead of wording like “I takes messages for my boss all the time,” try “I take dictation and use transcription equipment frequently.” Instead of “I makes sure the cash is zeroed out every day,” try “I balance the books and assist with back-office operations.” Instead of “I ain’t got no…” say “I don’t have”. Record yourself practicing your interview and that way you can see where you might use slang or negative jargon. If you’re unsure what to say, keep your resume in front of you and practice at home beforehand.
3. Don’t Include Skill Sets You Don’t Have
An easy way to help get your resume picked up by computer scanners is to ensure that your resume includes keywords that are in the employer’s job description. The problem is if you don’t have this experience, you come across as dishonest. Never lie about a task that you don’t do, but if you see that the company is looking for a particular skill set, consider taking a class in this online or auditing one for free. Then come back to the company after you have a little experience under your belt.
4. Avoid Using Improper Wording on Your Resume
For people that have been out of work for a number of years, they may try to update their resume but use the incorrect wording. For example, instead of listing Office 365 or MS Office, they might put down “MS Office, Word, and Excel”. It’s already implied that MS Office includes Word. Another one is they might have graduated and listed their degree as “Bachelor Arts” instead of “Bachelors of Arts”. Always ensure the wording is correct as it can send a red flag to potential employers if you have improper wording or misspellings.
5. What to Do When Your Resume Isn’t Detailed Enough
For people that have only held a job or two, their resumes can look like a lot of white space on the page. In instances like this, you can elaborate on your daily tasks and assignments with bullet points to give you a few more lines that you can fill with the various responsibilities you held in your previous position. You can also highlight organizations and clubs that you were affiliated with in school and achievements. List if you were in the R.O.T.C. or that you were on the honor roll. These are all accomplishments.
6. How to Avoid Having a Resume That’s Too Long
Job seekers sometimes make their resumes too long or go beyond one page. Shorten it. Any job you held that isn’t relevant should be shortened. If you had several short roles or moved several times, be prepared to explain this. It can happen if you’re in the military or have family that had to relocate. Limit your resume to 1-page. You can always walk your employer through your job history and explain a move, or several short roles. Just don’t spend too much time on describing experience not related to the job you’re interviewing for.
7. Don’t Forget Key Areas That You Should Highlight
In interviews, job seekers sometimes spend too much time talking instead of highlighting previous accomplishments. You want to highlight your most recent experience. For example, if you had all banking jobs and one real estate job and the interview is for banking, your real estate position can be briefly mentioned but your focus should be on describing your banking experience. Additionally, on resumes, recent jobs should be more descriptive than older jobs. Jobs that you had 10 years ago may not have the same skill sets that are required now.