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Resume 101: Don’t make these mistakes!

You’ve taken days to put together your resume, but did you know you’ve just about a minute to make a winning first impression? Here are the top 5 mistakes to avoid when crafting your resume!

1. Loud and bad formatting

Skip the loud, graphics-heavy layouts and stay simple: use consistent formatting with fonts and font sizes that are easy on the eye. Basic fonts such as Arial, Cambria, Calibri, Verdana, Courier New and Times New Roman work well. Avoid ‘novelty’ fonts like Comic Sans, or fonts in script or handwriting style. Formatting helps declutter your content and present it neatly. Be consistent with the font, use of bold typeface, headers and subheaders. Make sure your text is left-aligned or justified. 

2. Too much content

Sure you’ve done a lot, garnered dozens of awards and certificates and all of them are worthy of mention. But you’ve just a minute, remember? It seems cruel to have to fit in all your experience and years of learning in a page or two, but resist the temptation stretching beyond two pages. Find the right hooks to win your reviewer. If you’re confused about whether the information you’re providing is pertinent, put yourself in the shoes of the reviewer and ask, “Why would I want to choose this person?” 

3. Grammar’s gone missing

Are you the kind of person who wears a stained shirt to your interview? Or a shirt that’s missing a button? Your resume is a snapshot of who you are: silly mistakes such as spelling, grammar, wrong word or number create a negative impression about your efficiency and meticulousness. So how do you weed out errors? Proofread, edit and read aloud your resume after a day or two, or get it reviewed by an expert.

4. Lack of action words

Your resume must be able to speak of your competence, talent, and abilities to excel in all fields, both academic and non-scholastic. Though hard to resist, it’s better not to use a series of generic descriptive expressions such as “responsible for…” Instead, use words that will define your performance or potential. For example, spear headed, analyzed, organized, researched, etc. would depict your role in driving change or in taking initiatives. Begin your statements with action words to paint a powerful picture in your reader’s mind. Describe each of your accomplishments with strong verbs that clearly demonstrate both the breadth and depth of your experience.  

5. Random timeline

Organize your content chronologically, instead of expecting the reviewer to scan through the data to understand your journey. A chronological resume lists your work experiences and achievements starting from the current or most recent one, and following up with previous jobs below. Jumping dates can be confusing: a linear documentation of your achievements and skills will make your resume an easy read and showcase your progress.

Your resume is your place to shine: before you hit ‘send’ make sure you’ve run through our list of common resume mistakes. Also, know your resume inside-out, so that you are able to articulate all that you put on paper when you’re being interviewed. At Open Canvas, we offer resume writing and editing services that can help get you the leverage you need to crack the internship or job that you’ve been eyeing. Reach out to us today!


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