Resume Mistakes that Sabotage Your Remote Job Search

Avoid derailing your remote job search with a common resume mistake. Keep reading for the top things to avoid on your resume for a remote job search.

Competition is fierce for remote jobs right now. In today's market, it's not enough to simply submit a resume and hope for the best. You need to stand out from the crowd and make sure your resume is polished, professional, and error-free.

When you're applying for remote jobs, there are a few extra things to keep in mind. To make sure your resume for a remote job gets in the yes pile, avoid making these common mistakes that always sabotage your application.

Applying to Everything

A volume approach is important to many remote job searches with the highly competitive nature of the market right now. But, you still need to focus your job search and resume on the types of jobs that you are qualified for.

Don't just apply to everything and hope for the best. If you're applying to jobs that you're not qualified for or that don't fit your skillset, it will be evident in your resume. Not only will this frustrate hiring managers, but it's also a waste of your time.

To avoid this mistake, take the time to read through the job listing carefully. Make sure you understand the qualifications and requirements before you start working on your resume. If a job seems like it's a long shot, it might be best to move on and focus your energy elsewhere.

Pursuing the Wrong Jobs

Similarly, people that apply for the wrong jobs will find themselves frustrated. You may be able to do a lot of things, but the hiring manger won't see the resume if you don't have the minimum required qualifications. When you take the time to read the job posting, you can ensure that you're applying for jobs you're actually qualified for and improve your chances of being noticed.

You do not have to meet all of the required qualifications. You do need to hit most of those qualifications (typically between 60 - 80%). That being said, if you see super specific requirements you will need to have that experience clearly stated on your resume. This would be something like "3+ years of people leadership in enterprise financial services technology development. A requirement written this specifically should signal to you that the hiring manager is looking for someone very specific for the job and won't look at anyone else. However, if the requirement is "3+ years of people leadership experience in software development," then the hiring manager is open to candidates with broader experiences.

Not Customizing your Resume for the Position

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers can make is failing to customize their resume for each position they apply to. Remember that a resume is simply a marketing tool that shows you are qualified for the job that you are applying for. A generic resume won't effectively market you and hiring managers can spot that a mile away (if it even gets past the applicant tracking system). You have to customize your resume to the job and company each time you apply when the market is competitive.

The best way to customize your resume is to look at the job posting and identify the key qualifications that the hiring manager is looking for. Then, take a close look at your own skills and experience to see how you measure up. If you have the required qualifications, make sure they're prominently featured on your resume. If you don't have the exact experience the company is looking for, think about ways you can demonstrate that you have the skills they need.

For example, let's say you're applying for a customer service job that requires excellent communication skills. If you don't have previous customer service experience, look for examples of times when you've communicated effectively in other roles. Maybe you resolved a conflict among your team members or gave a presentation that went over well with the audience. These are the types of experiences you should highlight on your resume.

Not sure where to start in customizing your resume? Professional resume writers like The Contingent Plan would love to help. Claim your free resume analysis here.

Omitting Keywords

Another mistake that will kill your chances of landing a remote job is omitting keywords from your resume. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes and weed out candidates who don't meet certain criteria. Over 75% of resumes are stuck in the ATS on average.

To avoid this, make sure you're including relevant keywords from the job listing in your resume. This includes both hard skills (like specific software programs) and soft skills (like good communication or being a team player). You can also include keywords that are specific to remote work, such as "virtual team" or "telecommute."

If you're not sure which keywords to use, take a look at the job posting and see which words are used most frequently. These are likely to be the keywords that the hiring manager is looking for. Incorporate these keywords in too your resume to stand out and to get past any of the customizations in the company's ATS. Remember, that you also have to be able to speak to these keywords in the interview. So, make sure that you only incorporate concepts that are accurate and that you understand on your resume.

Focusing too Much on Non-Remote Experiences

Most people have gained remote work experience since the COVID-19 pandemic. But, not everyone is capable of performing a remote job as well as they could if they were in the office. So, emphasizing the wrong details of your experience or things that require you to be onsite can hold back your remote job search.

You can focus on remote job skills by using the right language to explain your results on your resume. Instead of saying "Increased sales by 10%", you want to say something like, "Successfully increased sales by 10% through excellent customer service and follow-up." These phrases let the employer know that you can achieve results even when working remotely.

If you don't have a lot of experience with remote work, that's okay. You can focus on the transferable skills that you do have. For example, if you're applying for a customer service job, highlight the times when you've provided excellent customer service, even if it wasn't over the internet or phone. But, if it was by Zoom or the phone, then make sure that you reference that on the resume.

Using Vague Language

When describing your work experience on your resume, it's important to use specific and concrete language. Vague language—like "responsible for" or "worked on"—doesn't give hiring managers a clear idea of what you actually did in your previous roles. As a result, it makes it harder for them to see how your experience is relevant to the job you're applying for.

To avoid this issue, use action verbs when describing your previous roles and responsibilities. For example, instead of saying "responsible for customer service," you could say "provided excellent customer service." This language is much more specific and it paints a clearer picture for the hiring manager.

In addition to using action verbs, you should also include concrete evidence and results whenever possible. This could be things like " increased sales by 10%," or " lowered customer complaints by 15%." Providing tangible results lets the employer know that you're not just good at your job—you're great at it.

Using Technical Jargon

When applying for a remote job, it's important to remember that not everyone is familiar with the same technical terminology. So, using too much of it in your resume can make it difficult for the hiring manager to understand what you do. Instead, focus on explaining your experience and skills in plain language. This will make it easier for the hiring manager to understand your experience and it will also show them that you have good communication skills.

If you do need to use technical jargon, make sure that you explain what it is and why it's important. This will help the hiring manager to understand its significance, even if they're not familiar with the term.

For example, if you're applying for a job in IT, you may want to include the following on your resume: "Created custom scripts to automate tasks and improve efficiency." But, you could also add a brief explanation: "Created custom scripts using the Python programming language to automate tasks and improve efficiency yielding cost and time savings."

This explanation makes it clear what you did and why it was important, without using too much technical jargon.

Including an Objective Statement

An objective statement was once standard practice on resumes, but times have changed. In today's job market, an objective statement is viewed as outdated and unnecessary. What's more, including an objective statement on your resume can actually hurt your chances of landing a remote job.

Why? Because an objective statement focuses on what you want from a position rather than what you can offer an employer. As such, this outdated practice is often viewed as being out of touch with the current job market.

Instead, provide a summary statement on your resume. A summary statement answers the question - "Why hire me?" This is typically 3 - 5 sentences and written without pronouns. An effective summary statement is an elevator pitch that sets the tone for the person skimming your resume and includes keywords strategically to get through the ATS.

Failing to proofread your resume

It may seem like a no-brainer, but a resume with typos or grammatical errors still happens all the time. There are tons of free and automated tools out there right now to prevent any typos on your resume. The ability to proofread your work and to use simple technology tools to prevent unnecessary errors is essential to remote work. So, make sure that you proofread your resume or have someone help you check the work. If not, you will most likely be rejected for every job that you apply for.

By avoiding these resume mistakes, you can increase your chances of landing a remote job. And don’t forget to claim your free resume analysis or consultation with professional resume writers! We can help make sure that your resume is mistake-free and tailored to the jobs you are applying for