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3 resume mistakes you don't know you're making

Woosh. A huge stack of papers land on your desk.

You groan, already dreading reviewing them.

But one catches your eye.

It looks professional, personalized, and most of all, like it has a story to tell you. One you want to read.

It’s the best resume you’ve seen in your life.

Now that you’ve put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes, you’re in a much better position to fix your resume.

This is a key skill many companies look for: empathy.

If you’ve taken EntryLevel’s Product Management, UX Designer, or Digital Marketing programs, you’ve learned about the importance of empathy. But empathy is a skill you should practice outside your portfolio projects too, and apply to your job search.

Without empathy, you might make these resume mistakes that cost you the job.

Mistake 1: Using 1 resume for all job applications

Imagine you’re recruiting for a data analyst role.

A resume lands on your desk. It looks promising - the design is clean and the text is easy to read. But you start reading, and the first bullet point says “Did social media marketing for a startup.”

You do a double-take and check if you’re even recruiting for the right position.

Yup, it’s for a data analyst role…not social media marketing. You throw out the resume.

*Record scratch*

Okay, let’s rewind…

A new and improved resume lands on your desk.

The first statement reads “Conducted in-depth analysis of social media marketing data using Excel, using Tableau to generate insights that led to a 2% increase in conversions.”

Wow. You’re almost blown out of your chair. Especially because your job description specifically asks for someone with knowledge of Excel and Tableau.

This is the effect your resume should have on recruiters. Even if you’re transitioning to a new role (i.e. social media marketer to data analyst), you can tailor your resume to the specific position.

So take some time and look at the job description. What keywords can you find to use in your resume?

Mistake 2: Responsibilities vs accomplishments

Let’s play a game.

Spot the difference

Resume statement 1: Wrote 5 blog posts in 1 month for SEO

Resume statement 2: Empathized with user pain points by creating a user journey map, which informed blog posts and led to a 5% increase in website traffic

What differences did you notice?

Statement 1:

  • Seemed more like it was for a marketing or SEO role
  • Lacked impact - what did the blog posts accomplish?

Statement 2:

  • Seemed more like it was for a product manager or content designer role, making use of keywords like “user pain points” and “user journey map”
  • Had specific metrics (5% increase in website traffic) which showed clear value for the company

Note: this person is transitioning from marketing to product management.

This is why it’s so important to write your wins, not just your duties. Share accomplishments you’re proud of, especially if they helped the organization succeed.

Need help with rephrasing your resume statements? Check out this AI resume statement generator so you can create an impressive statement in 8 seconds.

Mistake 3: Not optimising the top of your resume

The first thing recruiters will see is the top of your resume.

That’s why you shouldn’t put irrelevant work experience there.

You need to make sure the first thing the recruiter sees is relevant to the job, so you need to:

  • Include key skills listed in the job description
  • Have impactful resume statements
  • Make the experience relevant to the job you’re applying for

What if your most recent work experience is NOT relevant to the positions you’re applying for?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Reframe your accomplishments (resume statements) in terms of the new position
  • Find more recent relevant work experience (freelancing, starting a business, joining or volunteering for a startup)

That's 3 of my tips but I actually have 3 more! Let me know if we should follow this up with part 2.

If you need more inspiration, check out stories from our other students. One student, Christiana, applied to over 50 jobs. It was a very difficult process until she finally landed a job. You can read her story and advice here (it’s honestly very motivating).

Summary of resume mistakes

  1. Using one resume for all job applications
  2. Responsibilities vs accomplishments
  3. Not optimising the top of your resume
Date originally published:
Nov 9, 2022
Date last updated:
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3 resume mistakes you don't know you're making

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