Even though the numbers seem to be showing some improvement in the employment picture, it’s still a tough market out there. Competition for available jobs is still fairly stiff. If you want the interview — much less the job — you need to set yourself apart.

One of the ways to do that is through your resume. Your resume presents a first impression of who you are, and what you can do. If your resume doesn’t show you as an ideal candidate, you probably won’t get the job. As you prepare your resume, you want to avoid mistakes, even as you present yourself in the best light. All the position-related keywords and clean design in the world can’t save you if you make the following 5 mistakes with your resume.

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5 Critical Resume Mistakes

1. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes, and Typos

It’s noticeable when your resume is riddle with errors. How can you claim you have the required eye for detail with typos? And, even if the job doesn’t require you to be on the level of an English teacher, spelling and grammar mistakes can be distracting and draw attention away from your accomplishments and bring focus on your short-comings.

Before you send in a resume, go through it. Make sure that you have corrected errors and typos. Sometimes, it can help to have someone else read through your resume. He or she might identify something you missed.

2. Employment Gaps and Job Hopping

A long gap in employment can raise red flags. Another problem can be job hopping. Both of these situations can seem problematic, although gaps are less of a difficulty for employers due to the nature of the current economy.

In both cases, there are remedies you can use to help improve the look of your resume. If you have an employment gap, you can mention other work you have done that might help you in the current position. Have you done volunteer or pro bono work? Have you been working on a certification that enhances your skills? Show you have use your time wisely, and your resume will look better.

Job hopping is another matter. Really evaluate your positions, and whether they add to your credentials for the current job. You can drop that two-month stint with the temp agency if you have other experience that is more applicable. You don’t want to look unreliable.

3. Vagueness

Generalizations are hard to quantify. While some vagueness isn’t usually a deal breaker, if every achievement you have is vague (and seems like you are stretching to make it fit), that can quickly add up to a serious problem. Instead, think of specific achievements that you can call out. Try to find ways to quantify for your value. Specificity shows that you have real results to share, and it can go a long way toward improving your image.

4. Poor Resume File Name

In an age where many job application materials are sent electronically, your file name needs to be relevant, and stand out. Something titled “resume” is probably going straight to the trash folder — along with hundreds of similarly-named files. It’s too hard to remember which “resume” is yours.

Instead, name your file something that describes your resume, and includes your name. Use the position title, and your name, in the file name. That way, it will be easy to locate. Something that is easy to locate is much less likely to be shuffled off somewhere.

5. Lack of Contact Information

Did you accidentally leave off your contact information? That’s a real problem. You also need to include the right contact information. Your business office phone number and fax isn’t going to cut it in most cases.

Include contact information a prospective employer can use: Name, daytime phone number (maybe even your cell number), and email address. These items make it easy for interviewers to contact you.

When sharing this information, make sure that it’s professional. BongGurrrl69@gmail.com is a turnoff. Before you start sending out resumes, set up an email account with a more professional address. Your first and last name is a classic that conveys professionalism.

Bottom Line

Your resume says a lot about you. The way you format it, the information you include, and the way you present yourself matters. Make sure that your resume is a professional reflection of you and your accomplishments, and you will be more likely to make it to the next step in the hiring process.

Photo by Turinboy.