Guides for writing resumes often list tips and suggestions for what to include, but there are also many common mistakes one should avoid adding. For example, listing irrelevant work experience is one of the most prevalent errors which can detract from the overall effectiveness of a resume. If you are applying for a job in a marketing firm, it probably isn’t vital that those in charge of hiring know you once worked as a security guard for six months, 10 years ago. Stay focused on the desired job at hand, and if you’re looking for jobs in multiple industries, it’s a good idea to maintain a couple of different resumes rather than combining everything into one. Use straightforward and easily searchable job titles in lieu of overly creative ones, and reread the document several times for spelling and grammatical errors (once is not enough!).
Content is crucial, but clean and proper formatting is also imperative to any professional resume. This means no wacky fonts, flashy colors, cute borders, or other personalizations which will undoubtedly distract and possibly annoy the recipient of your resume. Save these flourishes for your personal communications and keep your resume simple and sleek, which can be easily achieved by using templates such as those provided by the YWCA Saskatoon Employment and Learning Centre. The desire is to “stand out,” but overdoing it will do more harm than not, and may lead to the HR Department not even printing it out if it uses too much ink. Do not include any photos unless you work in modelling, acting, or related industries. It is also important to list a professional email address at which you can be contacted (NOT firstname.lastname@example.org), and to suitably condense the files names of any documents related to job seeking (i.e., Bob Smith Resume.doc).