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Dec-2023

Avoid these 8 resume mistakes: find a new job in 2024

Learn eight transformative resume resolutions to enhance your job prospects in the new year. From simplifying bullet points to quantifying achievements and updating email addresses, these tips will help you avoid common resume mistakes and present a polished, professional image to potential employers.

Marc Cenedella

Marc Cenedella

While many people will focus on losing weight as a New Year’s resolution, there’s something else you can vow to lose without having to sacrifice ice cream or tacos – resume mistakes.

The following eight “resume resolutions” include things you can eliminate from your resume to improve your chances of finding a new job in the new year.

Related: Rise above the crowds: how to stand out in a crowded market

1. I will not nest three levels of bullet points on my resume.

Bullet points within bullet points within bullet points exhaust your reader – as you can see just from reading this sentence. For the best results, you should streamline your resume.

Not only does this help humans, but a simple bullet point structure is also easier for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to sort out.

A human may never see your resume if it doesn’t get past the digital gatekeeper.

Don’t do this:

  • Led a big project to implement a new HR software system.
  • Oversaw a team of three people.
    • Trained the team on how to use AI to streamline workflow.
    • Saved the company 20 hours of overtime a week.
  • Collaborated with tech and internal communications teams to launch project.
    • Worked with leaders across three departments to develop consistent internal communications.
    • Project taught entire company new skills

Try this instead:

  • Reduced overtime costs 40% by implementing a new HR software system which slashed 20 hours of overtime a week.
  • Collaborated with three departments to create training materials and lead educational sessions for 100 colleagues which increased productivity by 12%.

2. I will not copy and paste my job description.

Cut out the copying. Your job description is a list of tasks. Your resume should be a highlight reel of your accomplishments.

Shift your focus from your duties to your achievements. Demonstrate how you drove measurable results.

Don’t do this:

  • Planned, coordinated, and directed administrative functions.
  • Oversaw recruiting and hiring of new staff.
  • Consulted with top executives on strategic planning and serve as a link between an organization’s management and employees.

Try this instead:

  • Cut onboarding time 20% by creating a digital orientation center for new hires.
  • Saved 20 hours a week by developing an AI-assisted first round interview workflow.
  • Collaborated with executives to develop a new three-point communication system that made it easier for employees to share ideas and feedback.

3. I will not force readers to guess what I did by leaving out numbers.

Speaking of measurable results, quantify your success. Include metrics like how much you increased profits, reduced costs, or improved efficiency.

Don’t make the reader try to put it all together. Make it clear for them.

Don’t do this:

  • Created Slack posts for the internal employee communications

Try this instead:

  • Increased employee engagement 15% by creating a weekly employee newsletter and writing copy for daily briefs distributed via Slack.

4. I will not use my goofy personal email address ‘[email protected].’

The email on your resume conveys your professional identity. So, while you might be quite the skier, that’s probably not relevant to your HR job application.

For recruiters to see you as a serious professional, you should have a serious, professional email.

Try this instead:

If your name is already taken, add a middle initial, a period between names, or a number.

5. I will not use Hotmail as my email provider.

Hop off Hotmail. It can send the message that you aren’t keeping up with the latest in tech and trigger age discrimination (even if it’s illegal – it does happen).

Gmail or an email connected to a your personally branded website is a more modern solution.

6. I will not include a picture, graphics, or cutesy artistic elements on my resume.

When it comes to resume design substance beats style. It’s hard for ATS to decipher graphics and they can be distracting to human readers.

That fancy Canva resume? Waste of time.

Headshots, a personal logo, decorative lines, and all graphics get the boot. They’ll detract from rather than add to your application.

7. I will not have three or more pages in my resume.

We’re in the TikTok, YouTube, everything faster, everything right now era. People want their information delivered in bite-sized portions.

Recruiters are no exception. So, skip the three-course resume meal and serve an appetizer that’s just enough for the recruiter to want the next course – an interview.

8. I will not use I on my resume.

Have you ever been to a party where you sent next to an “I, I, I” or “me, me, me” person? You don’t want to be that person so don’t use that language in your resume.

Recruiters don’t want to read your autobiography. They want to quickly assess your capabilities and review your achievements to determine if you’ll be able to help them.

It’s about the reader, not about you.

Don’t do this:

  • I saved the company $500,000 by implementing a new employee tracking software.

Try this instead:

  • Implemented a new employee tracking software that saved the company $500,000.

When you drop the weight of the eight resume mistakes above, you’re much more likely to get that new job in the new year. I’m rooting for you as you implement your 2024 resume resolutions.

Marc Cenedella is a nationally recognized expert on careers, resume writing, job search, career management, recruiting, and how AI impacts the career space. He’s the founder of Leet Resumes (an AI-based resume writing service) and Ladders (the career site for six-figure jobs).

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