The Single Biggest Resume Mistake

The single biggest mistake you can make with your resume also happens to be the most common. No, it's not leaving off the months of your employment dates, using poor grammar, or even having misspelled words.

The biggest resume mistake is not customizing it for each position you are interested in. On the bright side, stop making this mistake and you'll have no problem standing out amongst stacks and stacks of other resumes.

The number one rule to remember when it comes to the words you use in your resume is this: it doesn't matter what words you want to use; it's not about you, it's about what the hiring manager wants.

Sound easier said than done? Here are three simple ways to customize your resume.

  1. Use their language. Print out the job posting, pages from their website (the "about" page is a great place to start), press releases. Read through what you've printed and highlight keywords. How do they refer to their customers and employees? If they say "clients" and "team members", you should, too, rather than saying "customers" and "co-workers".
  2. Use their units of measurement.Using the same print outs from the step above, look for clues that tell you what metrics are important to the company. Does the job posting reflect a focus on ARPU (average revenue per user)? If so, you should re-work your resume to show your improvements in ARPU; even if your current employer doesn't measure it.
  3. Highlight your achievements that most closely match the needs of the company to where you are applying. Having many more achievements than you can fit on your resume (because it's only one page) will help you in the area in the future. On a related note, you can use Evernote to track your accomplishments.

Does this mean it will take more time to prepare each resume? Yes, it will take longer than just sending the same exact resume to everyone but you will have much better results.