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Why a typo can get your resume tossed in the trash

By Krystal Steinmetz/MoneyTalksNews

One small mistake on your resume can mean the difference between you landing a dream job or having your resume relegated to the reject pile.

Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president of people operations, wrote in a recent post on LinkedIn that "in a fiercely competitive labor market, hiring managers don't need to compromise on quality. All it takes is one small mistake and a manager will reject an otherwise interesting candidate."

"For 15 years, I've continued to see the same mistakes made again and again by candidates, any one of which can eliminate them from consideration for a job. What's most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these are good, even great, people," Bock wrote.

Here are Bock's top five resume mistakes and his suggestions for avoiding them:

  • Typos. "Typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail orientation, as a failure to care about quality," Bock wrote. Yet, a CareerBuilder survey found that 58 percent of resumes contain typos. Bock recommends reading your resume in reverse -- start at the bottom and work your way up -- and have someone else read it.
  • Length. "A crisp, focused resume demonstrates an ability to synthesize, prioritize, and convey the most important information about you," Bock said. This has a simple fix: When in doubt, cut it out.
  • Formatting. Keep it simple and clean. Bock said white paper, black ink, no less than a 10-point font, and consistent spacing and alignment are key, unless you're applying for a design job.
  • Sharing past employers' confidential information. In a rough audit, Bock said, Google found that up to 10 percent of resumes revealed confidential information. "Which tells me, as an employer, that I should never hire those candidates ... unless I want my own trade secrets emailed to my competitors," Bock wrote. He said a good test is to consider if you would want that information on the home page of a major newspaper with your name attached to it.
  • Outright lies. This seems obvious, but it continues to happen. Whether it's lying about your degree, GPA or job credentials, it's a stupid idea.

Have you committed any of the five cardinal sins of resume writing?

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