You cannot expect your resume to be perfect when you create it the first time. Earlier in my career, I have made the mistake of omitting essential info that could have made my resume a magnet to hiring managers. For example, I used to skip adding my prior work experiences and focused only on the recent roles I have assumed. Now, I know better as a professional resume writer. Here is the information you actually need to include on your resume to avoid the mistakes that I used to make before I became a resume writer.
1. Your prior work experiences
As I’ve mentioned earlier, it never came to my attention to add my prior work experiences because of the thought that they would just clutter my resume. It makes sense that these roles are less relevant now – particularly when they are quite dated. But, they can actually be good talking points during an interview. They may also help to hit the algorithms of the ATS if your older roles are directly related to the job you are now pursuing. But you may ask, “What if I’m a job hopper? Or I have a really long history of work experience with short times in each role?” This is where it may make sense to connect with a resume writer to get some professional guidance to spin those potential negatives into a positive selling point for you.
2. Your achievements and responsibilities (presented separately)
Another mistake I committed when I built my old resumes was to lump my achievements and responsibilities on a particular job. This made it difficult for the hiring manager to find my results when I was in a role. Avoid this mistake to make sure your results help your resume to stand out from the competition. To do this, make sure to spend time separating your achievements from your responsibilities on the roles you previously had and/or currently have. This makes your resume clear and concise yet substantial.
3. Your employment gap
Even before COVID, people left roles voluntarily or otherwise. In fact, there have always been a lot of reasons why people took time off. Regardless of why or for how long, you’ll need to update your resume and apply for a job first. But did it ever cross your mind that you need to include on your resume the reason why you have a career gap? Yes, you read it right.
Talent acquisition professionals and hiring managers will see the gap. So, including a short explanation of why you have an employment gap on your resume will proactively address any concerns. It also can prevent people from making the wrong assumptions about the why - why did you leave and what did you do during the period. In turn, it will make interviewing easier because you already set the stage on your resume.
Your resume should be a living document that you cannot set and forget. Keep in mind that there’s always room for improvement for your next resume. You’re now more than ready to take your resume onto the next level since you already know the three mistakes to avoid when writing your next resume. Remember that including your prior work experience, separating your job achievements from your responsibilities, and sharing the reason why you have an employment gap will certainly help…and not hurt your resume.
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