10 Most Common Mistakes in a Resume

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    10 Most Common Mistakes in a Resume

    Our unemployment rate is 5% right now and it’s even worse for youth at about 10%. Finding jobs now is way harder for us than more experienced people. And a part and parcel of a job application is sending your resume.

    But if you see what I’ve seen, you’d know that you (yes you) are not good at doing this. Well, you shouldn’t be blamed, though. Nobody taught you how to do it and you do it either by watching the trend, or you just wing it. And I’m here to point out the most common mistakes you might do when writing your resume.

    Mistake 1: Improper picture!

    Yes, too often that I see people putting a selfie or an unsuitable picture as their profile picture. Notice here how I said ‘unsuitable’, not informal? Because informal pictures are still acceptable as long as the background is not too noisy, your posture is decent, and your face can be clearly seen (no shades, mask, etc).

    And another thing; unless you’re applying for a job that needs your physical attributes, do limit your picture size. A passport-size photo (5.0cm x 3.5cm) is the maximum size.

    Mistake 2: Too much information (TMI)!

    This is a textbook step to get your privacy breached. Some resumes I’ve encountered even provided head-to-toe information for me to apply for a credit card. Other irrelevant information being put include the full address, date of birth, place of birth, nationality, IC number, age, height, weight (what?), marital status and gender.

    Shocker, isn’t it? For most jobs, these details are not necessary and to be honest, this is just reckless; giving strangers access to your privacy. Keep it simple; just put in city and state, email, and your primary phone number only. Additional information like your LinkedIn profile link can also be included.

    Mistake 3: Not having a summary

    A summary is not an objective. It can include an objective but the same can’t be said vice versa. An objective is, to say the least; cliche. Everyone knows you’re looking for a career that can fulfill yourself, whatever that means. So, why waste your time and everybody else’s writing that irrelevant piece?

    A good summary includes about 2-3 of your RELEVANT skills to the job you’re applying. For example, if you’re an accounting graduate and you’re applying for an account receivable position, you might want to mention some of the relevant skills you have specific for THAT POSITION.

    An experienced technician for aircraft maintenance with 15 years of collective experience scattered across the country. I am certified in a number of relevant courses as well as fluent in various type of helicopters. I am looking forward for a career advancement particularly those that involve continuous certication opportunities while utilising my existing fluency in rotocraft heavy and line maintenance. I am versatile, ready to explore to other scope of jobs such as lead tech in military aviation as well as public commercial aviation. I am convinced that my years of experience can be proven useful to your esteemed company

    Afterward, list 3-4 of your personal traits that also can be useful. Don’t just list them out as you please. To be an accountant, for example, it’s good to be meticulous and analytical. Then, if you want to include a short objective, go right ahead.

    Mistake 4: Blabbering in your job experience

    Most fresh graduates might only have their internship experience and one or two experience working in a convenient store/restaurant. That’s fine. But the problem comes when you describe exactly what you did there. Which, to be honest, is not that impressive. Examples: Handling the cashier, assisting the customers, taking orders, etc.

    Rather than doing that, what you can do is tell what you’ve learnt instead. For instance, waiting tables might have given you better communication skills and being a cashier taught you to be more meticulous.

    Everything you write has to be impactful. Don’t waste your time and space making people bored when they read your resume.

    Mistake 5: Lazy formatting

    Ultimately, it’s a human that will read your resume. And we like pretty things; including the things we read. Many of the resumes I’ve read took no care of the formatting; from the font type and size, colour, spacing, indentation, and also the arrangement.

    A nicely formatted resume goes a long way. A good readability makes it easier for other people to read your resume. Do not be lazy; after all, you’re all very proficient in Microsoft Word, aren’t you?

    Mistake 6: Not practicing what you preach

    Too often that I see people putting in MS Office proficiency but when the time comes, they’re not able to prove it. Remember, having used it for a long time does not equate to better proficiency. Make sure you’re well-versed in a particular skill if you want to claim yourself as being good in it.

    This goes for other skills as well such as communication skills, presentation skills, teamwork, and etc. Study what those skills entail and brush them up first before making your claims.

    Mistake 7: Too lengthy!

    Resume in Malaysia is primarily used as a brief document to describe your whole professional self. That being said, your resume should not be too lengthy. Choose the information that you want to include and learn to let go of those that are not relevant. Point number 2 (TMI) also contributes to this exact problem.

    Some of the things that you can let go of are your high school achievements and extracurriculars (unless they’re really relevant and/or impressive), unrelated university activity involvements, minor tasks and responsibilities of your previous jobs, and of course, your UPSR/PMR results.

    Font size and spacing also play an important role here. Here are some of the good fonts and sizes for the content:

    - Times New Roman, 11. Spacing 1.15
    - Arial, 10. Spacing 1.15
    - Myriad Pro, 10. Spacing 1.15
    - Calibri, 11. Spacing 1.15

    Mistake 8: Naming it carelessly

    Believe it or not, the name of the document itself is important. I’ve reviewed literally thousands of resumes and what I noticed is some of you name your resume improperly. You have to remember; the receivers would probably a hiring manager or a recruiter who receives hundreds of resumes at a time.

    Hence, do not make their life harder by naming your resume something that is unrecognizable. Stick to the basics.

    Mistake 9: The design is just too much!

    Although I did say that you need to make your resume pretty, you don’t have to go overboard and use fancy colours and designs. Sometimes, simplicity is better. Plus, most of the time, the potential employers will be printing your resume out, so don’t make them waste their ink.

    Be cool, don’t overdo it, moderation is indeed best in this case.


    A clean and concise resume is always preferrable!

    Mistake 10: Arranging things wrongly

    Your resume’s arrangement does affect how people read your resume and ultimately contribute to assessing your profile. It might be different for people from different levels. For fresh graduates, for example, it is advisable for you to put your education details first if you’re applying for a job that is relevant to your degree.

    But if you’re a seasoned professional looking out, you might want to put your past experience first. For job-hoppers or for those who want to shift field, then put relevant skills first. That being said, no resume should be the same every time you apply.

    Take the time to rearrange your resume accordingly. You can thank me later.

    That’s all people! But I might miss something. But I’ll let you know once I recalled them. Until then and as always, Good luck!

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