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A good resume can help set you apart from your competition. It gets you in the door and top-of-mind with hiring managers, helping to grab attention and showcase what you’re all about. So naturally, you want your resume to be the polished, winning document it can—and should—be. And you can do that by avoiding five resume pitfalls that may cause you to look unprofessional and even careless in your job search. Here’s what you need to know.

When crafting your resume, be sure to steer clear of the following:

  1. Too much to look at. You want your resume to be visually interesting, but not overwhelming to the eye. Any fonts or design elements you include should serve to increase flow and readability—anything else will detract from the quality of your resume. Use standard margins and spacing, and stick to one or two strong fonts.
  2. Focusing on roles rather than accomplishments. You want to sell yourself to a potential employer, and you can do that by focusing on what you’ve accomplished. So rather than listing your responsibilities for each past position, use action words. List awards and certifications you’ve earned, and how you’ve grown in your career. It’s also helpful if you can illustrate your points with numbers (e.g., beds in a facility, percentage profit growth, client caseload per month, etc.).
  3. Lack of customization. Your resume should not be one-size-fits-all. For every job to which you apply, you should review the document and make appropriate edits. For example, certain past job experiences may be more applicable than others.
  4. A generic objective statement. Your objective is the first thing a hiring manager sees and it should be directly related to the job you’ve applied to. For example, “I seek a position as the head nurse in a pediatric ICU.”
  5. Grammar and spelling errors. Since they’re simple to avoid, there really is no excuse for these types of mistakes. When it’s complete, read your resume forward and backward (literally) and ask someone you trust to review and give you an honest opinion.

Follow up with your references

Once your resume is ready to go, be sure to reach out to your job references so they’re up to speed on your recent endeavors and ready to accept a phone call from your potential new boss. This last step is an important preparation in landing your next job.

Working with a recruiter can help

If you’re looking for a new job but you’re not sure where to begin, a recruiter can be a valuable partner in your job search. And McGrath Systems is ready to work with you! Our experienced staffing professionals place candidates with positions in administration, human resources, light industrial, IT and engineering. To learn more, visit our job search page or contact us today!


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