It doesn’t matter what level of experience you have, when job hunting unless you have near-celebrity status in your industry, your resume is often the first and only contact you will have with potential employers. As an executive, your resume needs to represent you and your skills in the best possible way.
Your goal is to create for yourself a personal brand and communicate that brand in the way you present yourself. Decide who you are and want to be in your industry and focus your resume on highlighting that core message of business ethics along with hard work. Doing this will give you the best possible chance for being hired. Having said that, there’s basic errors executives often make when job hunting and unfortunately, they’re errors we see time and time again in resumes!
To help you make sure your resume is up to scratch, we’ve put together a list of the 3 most common resume mistakes that will cost you the job. Take care to avoid these issues. It’s a worthwhile exercise writing your own resume however, for high-end corporate positions you may want professional support to edit and proof-read your work. Here’s a few issues they will likely pick up:
Poor grammar is the biggest resume mistake that we see time and time again. These mistakes alone could stop you from getting through the job applicant tracking system. Common errors include incorrect homophone use such as the confusion of ‘too’ and ‘to’. These errors are often easily overlooked because a standard spell checker won’t pick up on the misuse – after all, spelling isn’t the problem! Another common mistake we see is incorrectly contracting words. Remember, ‘your’ is possessive and doesn’t require an apostrophe, ‘you’re’ is a contraction of ‘you are’ and therefore does need an apostrophe. If in doubt, say the sentence out loud using both ‘your/you’re’ and ‘you are’ to see if the latter makes sense in the sentence; if it does, ‘you’re’ is the correct spelling. Apostrophe use is an overall issue and we often see erroneous apostrophes used throughout resumes so be thorough and double-check each use. Poor grammar suggests a lack of care and can imply a lack of attention to detail.
When writing your resume, you need to ensure that you are being specific with your writing. Vague language doesn’t sell your skills or experience and so is unlikely to make you stand out from the crowd. Tailor your resume specifically for the type of employment you are seeking. This will speak volumes about the focus you have for your chosen profession. If it’s possible, you may tweak your resume to match the job description. If the job asks for management experience, saying that you oversaw a team of 100 is much more likely to stand out than a vague bullet point stating you have had experience managing a team. Consider what specific details they will likely care about when looking for an employee. It is often the specifics that stick in an employer’s mind and make you memorable.
A final issue you should take care of when writing your resume is tense confusion. While it is fine to talk about your current role in the present tense, make sure you stick to the past tense throughout the rest of your resume. Haphazardly switching between past and present tense looks sloppy and unprofessional, and can make your resume confusing to read.
Your resume is what will help you get your foot in the door, back up your personal brand throughout the interview process and if you are successful dress to impress at your first day on the job.