Dumb mistakes smart people make on resumes

Photo courtesy Flickr user Tax Credits

(MoneyWatch) Finding a job these days is obviously no picnic, so why make it harder than it needs to be? There are a lot of simple,commonsensical things you can do to ensure you're putting your best foot forward when searching for a job. 

Recently, former employment recruiter Tisha Tolar rounded up a number of easily correctable mistakes she has seen on resumes in the budgeting blog Wisebread. Here are the highlights:

Spell check. Tolar recounts having seen many a resume that claims the candidate has "great communication skills," yet typos abound. Make sure your resume is squeaky clean -- that means a spelling and grammar check, and have someone else review it to be sure you didn't miss anything. As a hiring manager myself, I can assure you that I've personally passed on resumes with typos. Why should I waste my time with someone who doesn't spell check his or her own resume, with so many outstanding candidates to choose from?

Don't stick with a template. There's nothing wrong with building your resume from a template. But if you just fill in the blanks and leave it at that, your resume will look the part. Especially if you're hunting for a more senior position, take the time to personalize your resume. Make sure it captures your career and your capabilities, and dress it up so it doesn't look like every single entry-level resume in HR's stack.

Target yourself. Whenever I have a job opening, I get a slew of applications from people who have absolutely no qualification for the role whatsoever. I have resigned myself to that, and I filter them out quickly (or, if I'm lucky, HR does that for me). But more frustrating are the resumes I get that have potential, but the candidate made no effort to align their generic resume and cover letter with the specific requirements and responsibilities with the job description. If you really want my attention, make it clear how you are a great fit for this specific role.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tax Credits

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