Are you preparing a resume? It’s natural to want to tell a potential employer about yourself — but there are some things that are better left unsaid.
Remember, you have only limited room to convince someone that you will make a good employee. So avoid including anything that might offend or make the employer question your skills.
Here are some important things to avoid on your resume.
Criticism of past employers
A surefire way to put off potential employers is to waste space on your resume criticizing previous employers or supervisors. You may feel right in your criticism, but the purpose of a resume is to showcase talents and abilities, not to air complaints.
Don’t give potential employers the impression that you are disloyal or generally dissatisfied. Instead, write about your positive relationships and accomplishments. Tell people about the good things you can bring to their business if they give you the chance.
Excuses for past problems
If you have been laid off or terminated from a job, you may find it necessary to describe the situation in your resume. It’s natural to want to tell your side of the story, especially if you’re feeling innocent.
However, it’s easy to spend too much time discussing disappointments and missed opportunities. You may give the impression that you are not responsible for your own mistakes.
A better approach is to write about past successes. If you are asked to describe layoffs or firings in an interview, be honest, but brief. Let people know that your focus is on the future.
When a job applicant lists skills unrelated to job performance, it appears that he or she has no valuable skills to showcase. Instead, describe things you’ve learned that have improved your performance at work. As an example:
- Do you have great internet skills?
- Did you take any special training to enhance your contribution in your previous job?
- Are you studying for an advanced degree or certificate?
Focus on recent accomplishments in your resume. If something happened 10 or 15 years ago, potential employers may have the impression that your success is behind you.
So, leave that Scout merit badge.
Bad grammar and spelling
If you submit a resume with misspellings, typos, or grammatical errors, you are unlikely to score a job interview. Even if you’re in a field where using proper language doesn’t seem important, most employers want to know that their employees have good communication skills.
Grammatical errors on your resume can indicate that you are careless and possibly unreliable. An error-free resume lets the recruiter know you’re serious about the job.
Too much information
Recruiters have limited time to sift through applications. So, keep it short.
When screening applicants, recruiters look for experience, training and previous employment. If you write in great detail about every job you’ve ever had, you may be overwhelmed. Even worse, the information that made you stand out as an applicant may be missed.
In most cases, submitting a page or two of information is sufficient. You can broaden your qualifications once you reach the interview stage.
Anything that isn’t right
You may be tempted to exaggerate skills, training, or accomplishments. However, doing so is always a mistake. Once you’ve written something down, you can’t take it back. Even if it helps you get a job, lies can come back years later and ruin your reputation or career.
So, don’t exaggerate your qualifications. If you don’t have a college degree, describe the training you received on the job. The best way to get a resume full of accomplishments is to do work you are proud of.