AIU Blog

The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.

Are You Giving Employers the Best First Impression?

Image: get noticed pursue promotion

A resume encompasses your professional history, education, and accomplishments, which ultimately gives all employers a first impression of you. You do not walk around giving false impressions or speaking gibberish in front of employers, so you definitely do not want to have those sorts of errors on your resume, either! Double check yours now to avoid having these five common mistakes:

1) Not using action/benefit statements: Why say what you do, or what you did, without explaining the reason behind it, or the benefit of doing it? It is very common for job seekers to simply list the tasks they complete at work, but it is a big mistake to make on your resume. Take the extra minute to explain the benefit and impact of your accomplishments and duties to better illustrate the importance of your role and show employers why you could be valuable to their company!

2) Not tailoring your resume to the job: This is another typical issue that many employers and recruiters are likely to notice. Whether it is just due to time constraints or a simple mistake, many job seekers send out the same resume to any and every job for which they apply. Take the necessary time to tailor your resume toward each and every position that you apply for by emphasizing keywords and skills that you have experience with that are specifically relevant to the job description. For instance, an information technology employer may not want to see your experience working in the music industry. Instead, focus on the relevant skills that you have to offer the employer, relative to the job description.

3) Listing too much information: This can be another common mistake many job seekers will make. It is an easy trap to fall into since, as a potential candidate, you want to show everything and anything you have ever done to highlight yourself. However, many hiring managers may only look at your resume for less than one minute! It is very important to showcase all of your achievements and high level accomplishments, but keep it concise and to the point. A best practice is to keep bullet points down to eight or less for each employment entry, and each bullet point down to only two lines. Otherwise, an employer may get lost, bored, confused or just tired from attempting to read your resume - and that is not the first impression you want to leave with them.

4) Not quantifying your accomplishments: This is another easy trap to fall into! Be cautious as you write your resume to ensure that you are not slipping into this crack, either. Remember to highlight your accomplishments and achievements by quantifying them with specific numbers or examples, like how many dollars you "saved the company," or how many customers you "saved from leaving the company" due to your excellent customer service, instead of just stating that you provided that excellent customer service. Providing these detailed accomplishments can make you stand out and separate you from the job seeker who only listed the simple duties they performed.

5) Typos, spelling, and/or grammatical errors: This is probably the most common finding for mistakes on resumes. Of course, there is "spell check" and "grammar check" on most document software programs these days, but even those cannot detect all spelling and grammatical errors. You should use these functions as a preliminary detection system only. I recommend reading through every line of your resume to identify any typos or grammar issues, as only you know exactly which form of the word you intended to use. Have a second pair of eyes read through your resume, too, to literally see if there is something that you and your spell check may have missed!

Again, your resume is usually the first impression that you leave with employers, so make sure to avoid these common mistakes when creating or editing it! This list is also not totally exhaustive, so if you're an AIU student or alumnus and have any uncertainties or questions about your resume in general, please get in contact with your Career Coach or the AIU Career Services Department at 877-221-5800, Option 5!

Interested in more posts on job search-related topics?Check out our Career Development blog.