When I work with clients, a part of our collaborative process is to review their most recent resume. Whether that resume is from last year or 20 years ago, it is important to evaluate the information and format utilized to determine the best methods for improvement. After working with thousands of clients, I can say that I have seen almost everything (ALMOST!). Please see below for the most common mistakes I see when clients send their old document.

Personal Details. This should NOT be included on a resume. Whether it is a photograph of yourself, marital status, or the number of children you have, just remember one thing. DON’T INCLUDE IT. By including this personal information, you are potentially opening yourself to age discrimination and you become a nightmare for the potential employer’s human resources office.

Too Much Information. Some clients try to include EVERYTHING on a resume. If they have worked for 35 years, they include all of those jobs. Or, they simply cut and paste their job descriptions underneath each job listed. While some of this information is most likely usable, this much information is simply too much for a potential reader. Think of accomplishments and short, concise statements that still tell the story of your professional history.

Bad Formatting. The average resume is only reviewed for approximately 5-7 seconds before a decision is made. If your format is bad—bullets are not consistent, sentences are not aligned, or different fonts are utilized throughout the document—the reader will instantly have a negative reaction. Be sure that you use a common font that is easy to read, be consistent with lines, bullets, and sizes, and leave enough white space that makes the document easy to read. If you’d like more tips on formatting your resume, click here.

No accomplishments. Rather than simply list your job duties on your resume, think in terms of accomplishments. SHOW the employer what you can do by listing past accomplishments and HOW that impacted the business. Anytime you can include quantitative information—dollar amounts, number of employees, number of clients, or percentages—this is valuable data. Readers are automatically drawn to quantitative information and it can ‘pop’ off of the page.

Including references. We no longer use the line ‘References Available Upon Request’ at the end of the resume nor should we list the reference contact information. The space on a resume is valuable and should be used wisely. Instead, conclude with community engagement, leadership examples, or a testimonial from a previous manager.

The tips listed here are just the start of things to consider when crafting your updated resume. If you are still unsure of how to include certain information or what sections you need to use on your resume, contact us today – we would love to partner with you to help you land your dream job!