How Employers Interpret Mistakes on Resumes

Drew Roark: There are tens of thousands of blogs online about how to write resumes, and all of them suggest proofreading your resume to ensure it is error-free. Obviously proofreading is a good idea, but do employers really throw away resumes and skip candidates just because of a misspelling or formatting error? In truth, yes, but not because of the reasons you might think. Mistakes on your resume can expose traits about yourself which can ultimately keep an employer from offering you a job.

Three Common Resume Mistakes, and How Employers Interpret Them.
1. Misspellings. Perhaps the easiest mistake to make on a resume is misspelling a word. If you type “recieve” instead of “receive,” does that mean an employer will think you are unqualified? Are you unable to perform your job because of a simple typo? Not necessarily, but misspelling words DOES show that you do not show adequate attention to detail. Employers are less concerned about your spelling (knowing you probably just made a typo) and more concerned with the fact that you overlooked an error, which speaks volumes about your tendencies. If they hire you to work in accounting, for instance, and you constantly overlook small details, you could cause some serious problems for the company. Make sure to run spell check prior to submitting your resume, but also print it out and have a few friends review it as well. Many leading word processing applications, such as Microsoft Word, will auto-correct misspellings for you, but that does not mean you are in the clear. “There” and “their” are both spelled correctly (and will not get caught by spell check), but they have totally different meanings, so make sure to proofread your resume manually as well.

2. Bad Formatting. Formatting your resume can be tricky, and even the smallest mistake can get your resume thrown away. An often overlooked issue with resumes is the size of your page margins, also known as the whitespace around your text. If this whitespace is too small, trying to print the document may cause a box to pop up stating “margins are too small, some clipping may occur” (or something similar). We have all seen that message before. If you cannot pay enough attention to ensure your own resume prints properly, why would a potential employer want you to represent their company to their customers? Companies have a brand to maintain, and they do not need lazy employees tarnishing their image or reputation.

3. Too Much Info. Resumes in today’s job market should be (usually) a maximum of two pages, and your job descriptions should be concise and powerful. If your resume is longer than two pages, there is a good chance your resume will be thrown away. Why, you ask? First, employers do not have enough time to sit around reading that many pages. Secondly, if you ramble on in your resume, it demonstrates that your communication skills are lacking. Communication is key in the business world, and the inability to convey your thoughts in a brief yet informative way is unattractive to employers.

In summary, employers are less concerned with the actual mistake in your resume and more concerned with the root of the mistake: your skills (or lack thereof). Misspellings represent your lack of attention to detail, bad formatting shows your inability to represent yourself or their company, and rambling on your resume demonstrates poor communication skills. To ensure your resume is as effective as possible, and error-free, consider hiring a professional resume writer to handle the project for you.

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