1. Never stretch the truth or lie. For instance, you might be close to earning an advanced degree or be ‘scheduled’ to receive a certification, but until you have it in hand, don’t claim to have earned it. Even small lies can be uncovered during background checks and eliminate you from contention.
2. Rush to send resumes: Although you might be particularly eager to apply for a position, be sure to take the extra time to proofread your resume carefully! Mentioning you are experienced in a specific area that is spelled wrong might be all it takes to eliminate you from consideration. Employers see typos, misspellings and grammatical mistakes as a sign you lack professionalism and attention to detail.
3. Include personal information: Your resume should be focused on the skills and qualifications relevant to performing the job. Leave off unnecessary information such as marital status, physical attributes or hobbies. Avoid links to your personal Web site. Inevitably, these might contain pictures or activities that might be deemed as inappropriate during an interview process.
4. Tell your life story: Hiring managers want to get a sense of your work history, but they might not read your resume if it goes too much beyond two pages. Keep the content concise and elaborate more on recent jobs than ones held earlier in your career.
5. Leave them wondering about specifics: Just as frustrating to hiring managers as giving too much information is giving too little. Noting that you “managed a team of people,” for example, doesn’t tell employers exactly what you did. Did you troubleshoot problems? Make key business decisions related to the expenses or spending? Supervise employees? Don’t rely on employers to make the extra effort to clarify vague wording or dates- most will not and worse, they will assume the worst.
6. Focus on form over function: Yes, appearances do count with resumes. The goal, however, is to create a document that is neat and organized. Adding fancy graphics or fonts that are designed to make your resume stand out, may end up working against you. Many companies rely on resume-scanning software that might not recognize unusual symbols or designs.
7. Send the same resume to every position: Always take the time to customize your resume for each opening. This means concentrating on aspects of your background that are most relevant to the position available.
8. Fill your resume with jargon: The Accounting & Finance world certainly has its share of acronyms and industry lingo. Although colleagues might understand this terminology, it might not mean much to human resources workers and others conducting an initial review of your resume. So, unless phrasing is commonly recognized — such as using “MS Word” instead of “Microsoft Word” — it’s best to spell things out or use plain English to avoid confusion.
9. Forget to use keywords: Optimize your resume for filtering software, which searches for keywords and evaluates how closely resumes match the preferred language. An easy way to determine whether yours includes potential target terms is to examine the job advertisement. A firm that seeks “treasury workstation experience” with “strong cash management” is likely to search for those phrases.
10. Try to be cute or clever: Even if you’re known for being the office comedian, it’s best to leave humor off your resume. Hiring managers aren’t looking to be entertained by resumes, and they might find your wording inappropriate or confusing. If resume writing isn’t your forte, it’s worth asking trusted colleagues, mentors, friends and family for their feedback on your document. They’ll help ensure you’re sending the right message to employers.