Let’s be honest — writing a resume usually isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. Tailoring a resume for specific companies over and over again gets awfully repetitive while figuring out how best to highlight your skills and experience can be a real challenge. And if writing isn’t exactly your forte, it becomes all the more frustrating. But if your solution to these challenges is to just breeze through the resume writing process as quickly as possible, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.
A resume is your number one marketing material. It’s the first, and sometimes, the only thing that recruiters and hiring managers turn to in order to determine whether or not you’re a fit for the job. And if you phone it in, your first impression may be your last.
Tina Nicolai, CEO and Founder of Resume Writers’ Ink, knows this better than most. In her decades-long career, she’s reviewed tens of thousands of resumes. And despite all the educational resources available on how to write a resume, she sees a few key mistakes over and over again from applicants. Here are the top three that she says she can’t stand.
Mistakes happen, but you always want to make sure that your resume represents your best self — so typos, spelling errors and unprofessional fonts should be avoided at all costs. Not the best at proofreading your own work? Learn how to catch every mistake on your resume before you click submit.
2. Long Block Summaries
The average recruiter only spends about seven seconds looking at your resume, so the key to grabbing their attention is brevity. Short, eye-catching elements like bullet points are perfect for highlighting the most important and relevant info. Long, meandering paragraphs, on the other hand, make it difficult to find the info that really matters — which might just encourage recruiters and hiring managers to give up and move on.
3. Being Too Formal
After I got my first job out of college, I wrote my English professor to tell her how excited I was to utilize the skills I learned in her class. “Congratulations,” she wrote back. “By the way, don’t use the word ‘utilize’ when ‘use’ would work just as well.” It seems small, but using overly formal language like this comes across as stiff and artificial in a professional setting — the exact opposite of what you want when you’re trying to highlight your unique personality.
Want to know what else makes her list of no-nos? Watch the full video below.
This video originally appeared on Business Insider. It is featured here with permission.