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Monday, September 23, 2013

Five Giant Resume Mistakes

Getting out there, getting interviews, getting job prospects: All great!

Putting an unedited, unclear resume out to potential employers: Not so great.

If you’re looking for a new job, or just looking to move up at your current corporation, you know that one of the key pieces of your arsenal is your resume. Before an employer ever sees your face, they see your resume, and first impressions are indispensable.

A MAPP career package lists the jobs you're best suited for,
and you can use the language from it to really beef up your resume. 
How can you avoid being tossed in the trash, and get through round two? Check your resume for these five big mistakes:

1. Formatting and Spelling and/or Grammatical Errors.

Given that you have about seven seconds to impress someone with your resume, you'll want to make sure that your key information is easy to read and that your resume is letter-perfect.

First run your resume through a spell check -- but don't forget to double-check it yourself, in case you accidentally accepted an incorrect word. It’s equally important to pass the draft off to a grammatically-gifted friend. Edit it the way you would edit an AP English paper. Read your sentences and statements out loud to make sure they make sense. Not doing so is simply laziness.

Use bullet-points to list your previous jobs and accomplishments. No potential employer wants to read your three paragraphs about how it felt to work at Big Bowl. We love lists, and we love getting information in short, to the point, easy-to-remember nuggets.

2. It Lacks Focus.

Your resume must be as laser focused as possible. It should be tailored not only to your particular skillset, but also to the job in question. Don’t list every single position you’ve ever held, and don’t cast a wide net. Know what the company is looking for (you did your research, right?), and put careful thought into how you specifically fill that need.

If you need help figuring out where your particular skills lie, take the MAPP online career test, and then be sure to get a career package (get $10 off with the coupon code MyCareer). The career test will help identify your strengths and qualifications, and the career package will identify which careers you are best suited for and why, so you can do a better job explaining why you're a perfect fit for the job.

3. You List Tasks, Not Accomplishments.

When you talk about your job, do you tell people what your duties are (“I was in charge of sales,”) or do you tell them what you’ve accomplished (“Sales rose 5% under my management”)?

When it comes to a resume, the latter is far more important than the former. Don’t just list what you were supposed to do, list what you did. This gives your potential employer evidence of your value to their company—and that's the key to your candidacy.

4. Your Resume is Not Web-Friendly.

Do you know if your resume translates well into a text document? Do you know if your resume template will become distorted when it’s attached to an e-mail? Do you know if your resume is keyword and SEO optimized? These are all increasingly important components.

Something as seemingly innocuous as sending a resume as an incompatible file type can sink your chances. Inserting keywords into your resume is a matter of brief research, and ensuring your resume translates into different file formats takes only a few moments of your time.

5. There's No Cover Letter.

A cover letter is your chance to explain exactly why you're a great fit for the job you're applying for. Of course, you have to first know why you're a great fit for the job.

You may or may not have the skills and experience they're looking for. But one way around a lack of experience is explaining that you've taken the MAPP career test, which identifies your strengths and motivations. Then a MAPP career package will list the careers you're best suited for, and can give you ideas and language you can use to beef up your resume and cover letter.

With this great advice in mind, sharpen your resume and it will become one of the most essential tools in your career kit.

And remember: job hunting is difficult. If you need additional guidance about where to focus your efforts, take our free career test now, then check out one of our career packages to see what jobs you're best suited for. Every result is completely unique, so you’re not getting just any old cookie-cutter ‘quiz’ result.

Happy job hunting!

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