8 Common Resume Mistakes and How To Avoid Them
By Anthony Joh
On May 15, 2014
Hiring managers and recruiters spend only a few seconds reviewing a resume before labeling it for further consideration or deletion. If you are sending our a lot of resumes but not getting interviews then you might be making these eight common resume mistakes.
1. Spelling Errors or Poor Grammar
Nearly half of all resumes and cover letters received by our employers contain spelling or grammatical errors. Submitting a resume or cover letter that is filled with spelling errors will cause the hiring manger to question your professionalism and ability to do the job.
If English is not your native language or you find using correct spelling and grammar difficult, use a spell checker and have someone proofread your resume and cover letter.
2. Getting Too Personal
The person reading your resume is not your friend, they do not need to know every small detail about your life. A resume should be short, succinct and have just enough information to make the hiring manager want to schedule an interview.
A couple of points to remember when filling out your resume:
Include a passport style photo.
All Japanese resumes include a photo. It goes without saying that you should be the only one in the photo but you’d be surprised at how many group photos we see. Also this isn’t a selfie, put on your work clothes and take a proper photo.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money for a photo either. You can find ID photo booths in many major Japanese cities. The cost to print out 4 photos is usually under ¥500.
Use a suitable contact email.
Pay special attention to the email address you are using. ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ might have seemed cool when you were in college but it’s not the professional image that you want to send to a potential employer. The best email address is your full name.
Do not copy and paste cover letters.
A cover letter is your chance to show a potential employer that you’ve given some thought to why you would be the ideal candidate for this job. The worst mistake you can make on your cover letter is to copy and paste a message from a different company.
3. Adding Irrelevant Work Experience
Your application should show the employer that you match the requirements for the role you are applying for. Cut down (or cut out) any irrelevant work experience which will dilute the key message that you are the right person for the job.
Note: If applying for a teaching position, especially teaching children, you can add information that shows you are “genki” and good with people.
4. Showing off Hobbies and Oddities
It is good to list some hobbies that show your personality and are relevant to the position you are applying for but for the most part, employers do not need or want to know what you are up to in your spare time.
They do not need to know that you came to Japan for your love of AKB48…unless it is directly relevant to the job you are applying for.
5. Being Negative
Do not include negative language in your resume and cover letter, remain positive and replace the negative phrases with positive ones. One recent cover letter that we saw confessed that “I have an aggressive personality.”
6. Bending The Truth
Everyone adds a little polish to his or her resume, but you should avoid the temptation to embellish too much.
The majority of employers today are aware of social media and will use sites such as Facebook/LinkedIn to research your background. If you are sure that you are the best fit for the position you are applying for, there is no need to bend the truth.
7. Information Overload
Remember, your resume is not designed to get you a job. It is to get you an interview!
Keep your resume clean and concentrate on the relevant information:
- Graduate level resume – 1 page
- Experienced level (2-5 yrs.) – 2-3 pages
- 4+ pages are more likely to be ignored by employers
8. Being Too Creative
We know you want to stand out, but being too creative (unless applying for a marketing position) will make your resume stand out in the wrong way. You can’t make someone like you, but you can take away reasons for them to dislike you.