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While working on resume refinement with my clients and preparing for the upcoming Get Hired programme, I noticed 5 common mistakes often made in resume building. Reason to write a more in-depth blog on this subject to prevent you from making them. Read all the way to the end to find a big tip on a “should do” in resume building.

1. Attempting a one-size-fits-all approach

OK, we all recognize sentences like these:

“An Experienced Engineer in the Semi-Conductor Industry. A driven professional adhering to the people-centred development thought”

Or perhaps this one:

 “Highly skilled and driven sales professional with profound experience in multiple sectors looking for new opportunities.”

What is it you actually wish to tell me?

Next to the fact that overstatements like “highly” and “excellent” might raise eyebrows with some hiring managers and recruiters in The Netherlands, these sentences could reflect anyone and everyone and could be used for every vacancy.

You want to grasp the attention of the reader immediately, the best way to do this is by reflecting on a few of your unique talents and way of working which also link to the opportunity available in your resume.

This requires some research on your end. Recently, in a free call, I had a lady asks me: “But they cannot expect me to change the resume and this cover letter over and over again, this is way too much work.” Well, I think employers expect you to finetune your resume and cover letter to the vacancy available.

Now, I am not saying you should spend a full week on renewing your resume and cover letter for a specific vacancy. If you’re going to do this, you are probably too late to apply, I think the current situation needs that you send in your application within a few days after it’s published. Bear in mind that this also differs per industry and occupation.

2. Lack of specifics

The examples in the previous paragraphs also show a lack of specifics. If your sales experience is merely from the retail sector and consumer goods, why not mention it? This is making things more specific. Or mentioning you are a software engineer in the semiconductor industry with 5+ years of experience sounds already far more specific right?

Yes, there might be many reasons for not wanting to mention the sectors because you are applying within a different industry right now. Well, being specific also means mention you want to switch to a different industry right now. Specific and at the same time answering the question of why you want to opt for this position.

Today I spoke with someone who is back on the job market after being employed for the last 10 years. She found out she needs to brush up on her applying skills since they are a bit rusty. She mentioned a valuable thing during our call; “I noticed the language I use is somewhat outdated and it is worth adjusting the language in my resume to the new business language used.

This is one way of being specific in the resume, knowing what business language is used. Often you can see it in the vacancy. Secondly, being specific has to do with bringing in specific examples of your accomplishments and responsibilities that also relate to the opportunity at hand.

3. Highlighting duties instead of accomplishments

Recently somewhere I noticed this:

My activities included: Product Development, Stakeholders and Networking”

Ok, next to the lack of specifics, this also tells me something about your duties but nothing about your responsibilities or achievements. If you were responsible for the revenue growth of xx%, mention it. If you achieved to deliver a contribution by establishing close customer relationships, mention it. A key contributor to a team for many years in a row? Yes, I would mention it.

With the last 2 tips I might be kicking in some open doors, but still, they are worth mentioning since they are super common.

4. Too much text

During my events about successful job searching or getting hired, I always like to include a resume swap. Let me share you one of the comments I hear often: “When I saw my resume appearing on the screen it struck me how much text I was using and how confusing this is for the receiving end.

It is one of the first things I advise people to do when refining their resume: broaden the margins and/or spacing between the lines. Or, while using a cv generator or Canva template, make sure the font is not too small (size 11 is awesome) and that the spacing is wide enough.

You want to make it as easy as possible for recruiters to grasp the important information in your resume, this starts by sending them or uploading a clear document.

 5. Typos and grammatical errors

Although we all know this, this is still a mistake I see too often. I know these kinds of errors are one of my pitfalls (so I hope you don’t my errors in this blog). So, when I was applying I always had my resume and cover letter checked by someone I knew to do a final check before uploading my application.

I thought it was common to do it this way, only to find out later on that most people never share their resumes or cover letter with others. But, that’s a whole other topic. Let’s save that for another blog.

Should do in resume building

Now, what should you do to set up a profile that will attract the attention of the hiring manager? There is one thing really important which is the Link to Experience.

If we focus on the content of the resume – what words to use and how to reflect your responsibilities and achievements in your resume depend highly on what is asked for by the company you are applying at. It is all about “The link to experience”

With this link to experience thing, I mean that you are actually going to link your experience to the things asked for in the vacancy. Look at the requirements and the things they want you to accomplish in the new opportunity and show in your resume you did this in the past or that you are ready to jump in.

How to actually do this – this is what I teach people when working with me. This is what I will also show you in-depth in the Get Hired programme.

In this group programme, I will walk you through all the steps of the application process, including resume building and writing amazing cover letters. You will have the possibility to share all your documents with me and together we will see to it that it becomes recruiter-attracting.

I will also cover other topics like interview preparation and interview techniques, salary negotiation and networking and I will share all my knowledge about the current labour market, how to boost your job search and how to keep going.

Furthermore, I cannot mention this often enough: Your job search success needs more than a great-looking resume. It needs your commitment, proactive behaviour and dedication to create your opportunities. How to do this, this is what I love to support you with.

If you have any questions about my services, make sure to schedule your call with me to see how I can support you. I look forward to speaking with you.

P.S. Loads of people doubt to register for the Get Hired Programme, they decide to try on their own first. Only to return to me stressed out because they now have a tied deadline on finding a new job, or they are totally defeated by all rejections received. 


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