Resumes come in every shape and form, which is why it can be very difficult to know exactly what to put on yours. In the first blog of our series ‘Ask the Recruiters’, we speak to experienced Recruiter and the Co-Founder of Discovered People, Ryan Halson.
Ryan reveals some of the biggest faux pas and mistakes commonly found on resumes. While some may seem obvious, we think a few of these may surprise you. From spelling mistakes to oversharing, make sure that your resume doesn’t include any of these common issues Ryan lists below.
‘You really do not need to have photos on your resume’ Ryan says. Explaining how it can unfortunately invite unwanted prejudice. ‘I’d really say to avoid photos at all costs, but if you really want to display it you can attach a link to your linkedin profile where people can see your profile picture there’.
‘Information like date of birth, how many children you have, drivers licence or passport number don’t belong on a resume’. Explaining how many of the candidates he’s seen over time tend to overshare important information that’s not really relevant at that stage of a job application.
‘You only really need a phone and email contact on your resume. With additional things, such as LinkedIn, github or stack overflow for examples of work or your portfolio that add value to your profile.’
Although it feels like yesterday, chances are High School was a long time ago
According to Ryan, it turns out that adding things like your high school grades or the fact you were part of the choir don’t really matter or add anything on a resume (other than you have a great singing voice).
‘For highly technical roles. I don’t think it’s relevant to have your high school results on a resume if you have one or more formal degrees.
A surprising addition to your resume, is to include your hobbies and interests. ‘Definitely have interests there. One of the main things I look at is a candidate’s hobbies to see what kind of person they are and if they’ll be a good match with the manager of the role they’re applying for.’
A main difference at Discovered People is we want to make sure we connect people and teams that are a cultural match also. ‘If both the candidate and manager have shared interests we know they’re more likely to get along and work together better’.
Spell Check Everything
This one is likely not a surprise, but clearly not said enough as it still happens pretty regularly. ‘It goes without saying that you need to spell check your resume. I personally use Grammarly as a way to have a second pair of eyes and proof of the work I do, I think it’s really helpful for resumes if you want to double check and be sure’.
Short and Sweet Descriptions
‘The description of each technology you use doesn’t have to be super long’. Adds Ryan. ‘Keep these as short and relevant as possible, while making sure they only contain descriptions of skills you have recent experience in.’
‘If you worked with a technology over 10 years ago, don’t add it on your resume. If you worked with an old language 15-20 years ago, chances are your knowledge of it isn’t as strong as it once was. Worst case scenario you’re quizzed on it, have oversold yourself and the employer may then doubt your knowledge of all the other skills on your resume.
Size Doesn’t Always Matter
While many people say to keep a resume to two pages, Ryan doesn’t necessarily agree with that. ‘Actual length of the resume isn’t a real issue, it’s more the information on that resume. If you’re trying to fit 10 years of really relevant experience into two pages, just make it longer. Even if it’s 4-5 pages of really relevant information I don’t see a problem with that’.
The point he does raise is anything past 10 years old. ‘For anything before 2011, I’d really consider if it’s still relevant. If you still want to include it, just make sure it’s done as a shorter responsibilities section, just focusing on the client, job title and dates you were there’.
Tailor It to the Role You’re Applying For
‘You should tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for’. Explains Ryan. ‘If you’re in a creative industry like design or marketing, show off your skills and make your resume stand out with things like infographics or creative design. However if you’re a backend developer or programmer, we don’t mind if it’s not the most creatively designed resume.’.
At the end of the day, it’s all about how relevant the information you’ve put onto your resume is and how it shows you off as a candidate.
Hopefully you don’t have to make too many edits to your resume after that, but we hope you’ve found some good advice on how to improve your resume.
Looking for your next role? Get in touch with the Discovered team here to see our available roles.
Written by Ebony McCabe for Discovered People