If you’re desperate for a job, we know how hard it is to navigate dozens of applications at one time. When you’re juggling that much, it’s easy to make a mistake. While some mistakes are forgivable, others may cost you the job.
“One of the biggest ‘mistakes’ I see a person make on their job application is failing to provide a cover letter that is job specific and highlights what the applicant will bring to the job,” said Alejandra Diaz-Rangel, career coach at Tidewater Community College.
Another big bug-a-boo for employers and one of the easiest mistakes to fix: typos and grammar mistakes.
If you’re writing your resume in Word, you’ll get those helpful squiggly lines if something is spelled wrong, but it may not always give you grammatical fixes. Our recommendation is to find a friend who can read behind you and/or, utilize the Hemmingway Editor website which catches areas of improvement in your writing.
Beyond that, there is strategy into the layout, pacing and format of your resume.
“Common mistakes we see from our students are resumes being too long, they’ll include their personal address and they’re still putting ‘References Upon Request,” said one career coach at Patrick & Henry Community College.
Nowadays, it’s a given you may be asked for references, it’s implied so save the real estate. Additionally, by including your address, you may open the door for unconscious bias. It’s best to leave that off until you move along in the process and start filling out paperwork.
A final thing to keep in mind with the overall flow and format of your resume: gaps in experience.
“A big mistake we see is job gaps with no explanation,” said Beth Lucchesi, talent acquisition specialist at Carters Myers Automotive. “When we’re reviewing a resume or application, if there are multiple or significant gaps in employment that are unexplained, it may not end them in the NO pile, but it does give pause for consideration.”
Depending on your reasons for the gaps in employment, simple styling changes like only using years opposed to month and years may do the trick. Or, you can come outright and explain for the gap – for example, you took six months off to be a caretaker for a loved one who needed 24/7 support. Indeed has other great strategies for talking through gaps.
Are you thinking about career training and switching jobs or advancing in your current one? FastForward training can get you there fast, and our career coaches give guidance like what you’ve read here to students in the program at every step of the way. Contact your local coach to get started.