1. Typos and Grammatical Errors
Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. Have as many friends and family members proof it as you can! The horrible truth is that if there are errors, employers will conclude things like “This person isn’t very smart” or “This person simply doesn’t care about themselves, will they care about my company?”
2. Lack of Specifics
ACCOMPLISHMENTS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS!
Which sounds better?
A. Worked with employees in the greenhouses.
B. Involved in training and supervising over 30 greenhouse associates, on-going mentoring of employees reduced turnover by 40%.
Phrase B is definitely going to gain the Hiring Manager’s attention.
3. Sending the Exact Same Resume to Every Employer
Keep your resume out of an employer’s garbage… Tailor each resume to the job. Now, I don’t mean change the whole thing; take time to read the job description and maybe move things around to grab attention. For example, if the ad says supervisory experience is a must, make sure that bullet point is at the top. Also carefully consider the job titles you use for your work experience. Not all employers use the same titles; though there are 'industry standard' titles, some employers can get creative. You can get more guidance on job titles HERE.
4. Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments
The following examples are big no-no’s:
- Attended safety meetings and recorded minutes.
- Worked with customers over the phone.
- Updated OSHA files.
Use statements like these instead:
- Utilizing Word and Excel to record meetings, actively participated in safety meetings on a weekly basis.
- Developed goals each day to attain while working directly with customers over the phone.
- Reorganized 10 years of disorganized OSHA files, making them easily accessible to all managers.
5. Rambling on Too Long or Cutting Things Too Short
No one has time to read a 5 page resume; keep it to 2 pages. If your resume will fit on one, do so! There’s no magic to the length; keep in mind you’re giving enough information to want the employer to set up an interview; but don’t cut it down so much that you haven’t represented yourself well. Some like to add “additional activities” at the end of a resume; I’m ok with that, but keep out things like “Hunting Big Game.” A recruiter incredibly opposed to hunting may pass you over!
6. A Bad Objective
Don’t be “fluffy” by saying "Seeking a challenging position that offers me professional growth." And PLEASE don’t put “Seeking a challenging Growing position” when in fact you’ve applied for a job advertised as “IPM.” Give employers something like "A challenging Head Grower position that allows me to contribute my skills and experience in continuing the success of Morra’s Greenhouses." It shows you have attention to detail and took extra time to align yourself with the hiring company.
7. No Action Verbs
Avoid using phrases like "responsible for." Instead, use action verbs: "Resolved aphid problem as part of the greenhouse staff.”
8. Leaving Off Relevant Information
Don’t be tempted to leave off extra jobs that you perhaps performed while you were in the Hort Program/In School. The fact that you were willing to rake leaves, Barista, or clean pools shows work ethic! Make sure to identify why you held these jobs; i.e. “While on campus, earned extra money assisting the groundkeepers by performing general landscape maintenance.”
9. Too Visually Distracting
If your resume has 10 different fonts, or you had your sister who’s a graphic designer put cool stuff on it; redo it! Remember, so many resumes go via email; the employer may not have the right software to even read it! Keep it easy on the eyes!
10. Wrong Contact Information/Bad Email Address
This sounds silly, but double check your email address and phone number! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to call a candidate and the phone number was wrong, disconnected, or had been changed. I’ve gotten bounce backs because the email was spelled incorrectly.
Also, PLEASE use a professional email address; firstname.lastname@example.org is SO not appropriate! Neither is “cuddleme2000”…get where I’m going with this? Create a free email account for your job hunting, and remain “hotmama” to your friends and family.
Happy Job Searching!