A 2020 report of HR professionals by HR.com revealed that 73% of companies globally use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to review applications. Additionally, Indeed has also confirmed that recruiters only skim resumes for an average of six to eight seconds. This means that for a resume to land in the hands of a hiring manager successfully, it must first go past a bot and then a recruiter. A resume only has a maximum of 10 seconds to create an impression. But, what are the resume mistakes that are eliminating a candidate in the screening process? We caught up with Ganesh S, the Global Chief Human Resources Officer at Emeritus, who, with 25 years of experience in the industry, has come to understand what works and doesn’t. Here he gives us a ready reckoner to avoiding the biggest resume mistakes, to help you land the job you want. Let’s find out more!
What are the 5 Biggest Resume Mistakes?
“During a campus hiring drive, we once came across nearly twenty resumes that looked exactly the same. But for the name and contact information, every element was unoriginal. This left us in splits back then. I would highly recommend candidates make their resumes creative, authentic, and original!”
Off to a good start, here are the big red flags Ganesh pointed out that every candidate should steer clear of:
1. No LinkedIn Profile
“A LinkedIn profile is no longer just good-to-have. It is a professional expectation that a candidate must have an up-to-date profile. The information mentioned on a profile is the first source of validation. The connections, posts, recommendations, and activities help companies form a good initial impression. So, if a job seeker does not have a LinkedIn profile, that is a huge red flag!” says Ganesh.
2. Incomplete or Incorrect Information
Candidates are expected to submit a full resume with contact information, educational background, work experience, skills, and achievements. When vital information is missing, hiring managers and reviewers find it difficult to make a decision. If a candidate is not sure what to include, they can download free templates from the internet and make edits as needed. But, never send a resume without all the necessary information.
“I would urge candidates to be authentic and factual while listing their accomplishments and progress on their resumes. Never overstate your achievements,” he adds.
3. Long Resumes
Extremely long resumes are a strict NO. While it might go past the bot stage, no human has the bandwidth to check such big documents. Accordingly to Forbes, while it is highly recommended to submit one-pagers, the maximum should be three pages.
“The best resumes are crisp. In the past, I have even received resume booklets from candidates. Imagine downloading your LinkedIn profile. It wouldn’t exceed one page right? That’s an ideal resume!”
4. Covering Up a Career Gap
It’s common for people to be afraid of what a career gap means to recruiters. Ganesh says,
“There is nothing wrong with a career gap. Due to various personal and professional reasons, people around the world decide to take time off at various stages of their careers. Professional hirers completely understand and acknowledge that. All companies look for is, a proper explanation.”
5. Irrelevant Objectives
Most new-age resume templates include an objective section. Ganesh recommends,
“In order to make the resume relevant for all prospective employers, candidates include the most ridiculous objectives and this must be avoided at all costs. This is not a mandatory section and if the candidate has nothing relevant to add, it is recommended to delete this section.”
Resume Tips for Job Seekers
Hiring managers and HR professionals understand that there is a lot more to a candidate than just the resume. However, it is the first step to understanding an applicant’s accomplishments.
Here are Ganesh’s top five resume tips:
- For specialized roles, try to tweak your CV based on the job description to grab the recruiter’s eyeball.
- Be truthful, list your specific skills and achievements, but never overstate any experience as this could backfire at a later stage.
- If you have any special skills or accomplishments that are not completely relevant to the role you are applying for but believe they make you who you are as a professional, go ahead and list them. HR is always looking for such interesting elements that strengthen your candidature. Be ready to bolster your claims during the interview!
- Bots only look for keywords, however, keyword stuffing is not recommended as resumes will get thrown off the pile in the HR review round.
- Unless otherwise specified, keep your resume in a Word document or PDF format only. This makes it easier for both bots and humans to review.
What Sets a Candidate Apart From the Crowd?
This article has multiple tips and rookie mistakes. However, there is something that sets a candidate apart from the rest. This is the enthusiasm to learn. If companies come across a profile that exhibits this zeal, they will definitely set up a conversation with the candidate. With the world moving at an accelerated pace, it is vital to continuously learn, upskill, reskill, and stay updated.
If you are wondering how to upskill and reskill while managing your day job, check out the online courses offered by Emeritus. All our courses are handcrafted in association with the world’s best universities. Explore the entire gamut of courses here.
Found this useful? If you want us to write about a particular career-related topic, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org