The five most common resume problems

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Anyone who has written a CV has probably had to overcome a number of challenges – whether it is lack of work experience, gaps in employment, or explaining a short stint that didn’t work out. Facing these issues when writing your CV does not mean you’re not a worthy employee, it just means that you must find ways to explain areas that may appear negative to recruiters. If you’re struggling to explain discrepancies on your CV, the following examples will show how you can reflect your experiences more positively.


You have a big gap between jobs

Many people go through periods of unemployment, it’s perfectly natural and the good news is, given the economic slowdown, employment gaps are not uncommon. But leaving unexplained gaps on your CV will arouse suspicion with recruiters, so you need to meet the issue head-on and explain it. Whether you have taken time out to travel or taken on a personal project – you need to include this information and put a positive spin on it. These activities still involve core workplace skills such as planning, organization, and communication, which can be included on your CV. If you have taken time out for illness, there’s no need to be ashamed of it; mention it on your CV and show that you’re ready to take on the rigors of work again.


Your resume is too long

If your CV is three pages or more, you need to cut it down to hold the attention of hiring managers. Trying to figure out what to include in a resume can be a challenge, but a good rule of thumb is to only go back 15 years, or five jobs: whichever is shorter. Describing what you did on various jobs can eat up a lot of space, so keep it short. Use bullet points or simple action-orientated sentences such as: Managing a team of five people. Check your formatting and make sure you are not wasting space with large margins and poorly structured contact details.


You’re short on experience and education

You’ve found a job that you would love to have, but the description mentions education and experience you don’t have. You should go ahead and apply. Job descriptions are a wish list and it’s possible no one out there meets the exact requirements. Be honest and talk about what experience and education you have and express your desire and excitement to learn and grow.  You could use experience from your studies, volunteer work, personal projects, or anything else that relates to the jobs you are applying for. If your current role isn’t relevant, then reduce the amount of detail and only include skills that could be used in your new field.


You have done lots of short roles

Nowadays it’s common to have short roles on your CV but it can still be a turn-off for employers if not properly explained. Some recruiters may assume you have been fired or you lack commitment. To avoid appearing unreliable or a job-hopper, explain the purpose of each role and what you achieved before moving on. This will show you added value and fulfilled an important purpose for the organization.


You choose the wrong words

Your resume and cover letter are your opportunity to make a first impression to a prospective employer. You want to make sure that impression is good, so be professional, using the right tone and words. Use specific, action verbs such as “managed,” “processed” and “edited,” rather than bland words like “did.”


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