Top 10 Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Resume conceptThe quickest way to get screened out as an applicant is to submit a seriously flawed resume. Here are the most common resume mistakes and tips on how to avoid them.

Top 10 Resume Mistakes

1.Misspellings and grammatical errors are killers
Spell check and proofread. Then have your document reviewed by a career coach, a friend or family member. It’s hard to catch your own mistakes, so having someone else read your resume for you will help. Reading it
out loud is another option for catching mistakes.

2.Not including keywords from the job posting
Your resume should include the same keywords that appear in the job listing. If your resume doesn’t have the right keywords, it most likely won’t get noticed because you won’t fit for the job.

3.An outdated resume will make you look obsolete
You should update your resume for each new job. Be sure to rewrite your skills section as well as your work history. Check to be sure that the computer and other skills you list are current.

4.Including too much information
Don’t tell your readers everything about each job. Focus on the highlights and keep your document 1-2 pages
in cases outside of academic research settings. Use bullets and short paragraphs. Limit it to 10-15 years of work experience.

5.Writing a resume objective which doesn’t match the job
Avoid using an objective statement that doesn’t correspond well with the focus of the job. Many job seekers
now leave an objective off their resume or use a profile instead. If you include either, make sure it underscores your interest in the type of work for which you are applying.

6.Including a career summary that doesn’t match the job requirements
Don’t use a mismatched summary of qualifications at the top of your resume. Your key assets in the summary should match many of the key job requirements. Leave anything else off.

7.Writing position descriptions that don’t show what you’ve accomplished
Avoid job descriptions which simply list your duties or responsibilities. Instead write active statements which showcase relevant skills and accomplishments. Make sure the employer can easily see how you added value
to your role.

8.Leading your paragraphs with mundane or irrelevant duties
Start with the hardest hitting statement which shows that you have key skills related to the job at hand. Otherwise your reader might just skim by that description.

9.Not listing your accomplishments
Avoid empty, self-congratulatory phrases by quantifying accomplishments or providing other concrete evidence to support your assertions.

10.Being too modest
Share any awards or recognition you have received in a matter-of-fact manner (i.e. promoted to associate director after increasing annual donations by 25%).

Getting Ready for an Engineering Interview

Business man and meeting table background

In a series of interviewing tips, our focus this week is on the entry level engineering interview. You’ve studied hard engineering courses for five years and you may feel that you’re ready to step into an engineering job. What you need to know, however, is that your potential employer wants to hear how you’ll add value to the business. You’ll be able to do this in your first interview.


They’re there to allow you and the interviewer to have a conversation. The questions are there because your interviewer seeks to understand what kind of an engineer you are. To prepare for your interview, align your thoughts to your specialty. If you are a civil engineer, think about structures. If you’re a mechanical engineer, visualize engines and anticipate questions that may be thrown your way in addition to synthesizing what you have learned with real life scenarios.


Employers like to hire people who can present themselves. When a potential employer invites you for an interview, he or she is providing you with an opportunity to showcase yourself and your professional achievements.Your potential employer has already gone through your resume and determined that you have the necessary qualifications. However, you’re not alone, so the game change may be how you present yourself. Be on time, dress well and polish your knowledge of current affairs so that you feel ready and relaxed.

Getting Prepared

Reading is one preparation that many candidates overlook before heading into an engineering interview. Graduates may feel they already know enough because they passed their engineering courses. Because it is not unusual for an interviewer to ask questions about what you learned, it’s a good idea to brush up on key points.

Company Background

The company wants to know you have a genuine interest in what they do, so learn about the company. Search for it online and read about its work in trade publications. Your reading should give you something topical to discuss and it will help you to ask your own questions about the company. Your potential employer wants to know that you are not just out to get a paycheck, and asking questions shows a genuine interest in the company.

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

Young Woman On The Telephone And ComputerCompanies often conduct phone screenings or pre-interviews before inviting candidates to their offices.

This applies when:

  • Candidates will have a long commute.
  • There are a large number of applicants.
  • Personality is more important than experience or qualification.
  • The job involves talking to people on the phone.

If your phone interview has been set up through a recruitment/staffing agency, you are responsible for noting the time of said interview. Sometimes you may receive an impromptu phone call.

Your objective in a phone interview is to:

  • Obtain enough information to decide if you would like to proceed with the interview process.
  • Give just enough information to answer the hiring manager’s questions and convince them that you are indeed worth interviewing face to face.
  • Close the interview effectively and solidify a time, date and place for a face to face.

PreparationPreparing for a telephone interview is just as important as preparing for the face to face interview. The first impression you create, and the manner in which you conduct yourself, will determine your success.

  • Find out as much as you can about the company and the job description.
  • Make a note of any questions you would like to ask (i.e. Will I have to relocate?
  • That training, if any, will be given? What opportunities are there for advancement?)
  • Have a notepad and pen ready.
  • Have your resume at hand. The manager will have a copy of it too, so you probably won’t be asked to describe your background in detail.
  • Prepare a very brief answer to the prompt, “Tell me about yourself.” A manager doesn’t ask this because he or she wants information (they already have your resume), but because they want to hear how communicative you are.

The Call

  • If you have been asked to call at a specific time, call precisely at that time. If you can’t get through, leave a message to show that you called at the expected time. Ask the receptionist when the manager is expected to be free and try again at that time. Repeat the same procedure until you make contact. If you have been told that the hiring manager will call you, do not expect the same rules apply.
  • Ton of voice is the most important aspect of a phone interview. Detail isn’t important, the manager has your resume, they know exactly what you’ve done.

The main rules are:

  • Think about how you normally answer the phone. Anser the phone in an enthusiastic style, “John Pickles, good morning!” If this is not your natural style, change it!
  • Sound interesting/interested, energetic and enthusiastic.
  • Be exact.
  • Ask open-ended questions beginning with who, what, where, when, why and how. These all ask for information and keep the ball rolling.
  • Don’t use slang or curse words.Be polite and speak to
  • Ms (not Miss or Mrs regardless of if you know her marital status) or Mr. Jones. If you are invited to use their first name, use it. Also, use their title if you know it (Dr. or Professor).
  • Use the other person’s name regularly but not all the time.
  • Use the company’s name a few times.

Prepare to answer these questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What are you looking for?
  • This can be more tricky so be wary about saying things the manager doesn’t want to hear like, ‘I want to get into marketing,’ unless you know the probability exists. Keep this response general, ‘I’m looking for a chance to join a progressive company that lets its employees shine.’
  • What would you like to know about us?
  • A good opportunity for your prepared questions.
  • What are your strengths?
  • Be careful, if you know what the manager is looking for, tell him or her. Otherwise, don’t sell yourself short and be honest.
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What else would you like to know?

See below
- Be prepared to answer objections.
- Example: “I don’t think you’ll be suitable because you have no ion-chromatography experience.”

Rebuttal: “This is true, Mr. Brown, but I’m very familiar with other forms of chromatography and I’m a quick learner. I didn’t know anything about gas-chromatography when I started with my current company and now I’m seen as an expert.”

If it is clear that you won’t be getting the job, keep the door open by saying, “Well, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, give me a call.”

Closing the phone interview:

Part of the purpose of the phone interview is to find out how interested you are.

As soon as it seems appropriate during the conversation, ask for a date to meet for the face-to-face interview. Say something like, “Well, this certainly sounds like the job I’m looking for. I’m sure I can contribute to your company. I’d like to visit you to show you what I can do. When can we meet?”

You may have to be content with the response, “I’ll call you,” but at least you can ask when you will be getting the call. If the manager gives you a vague response, ask him for a specific date and time that you will be hearing from him or her.

This approach is particularly important if you are applying to sales jobs, as you are expected to demonstrate your natural salesmanship. However, in the case of other jobs, most people will appreciate your enthusiasm.

If you are invited for a face-to-face, ask for details:

  • Where, when and with whom?
  • What will you need to bring?
  • What will the procedure be?
  • Will there be a decision made after that interview?
  • How many applicants are there?
  • What is the most important thing the company is looking for?

Don’t worry if you don’t feel about to ask all these questions, the first three are the most important.

If your telephone interview has been arranged by a recruitment/staffing agency, call them to let them know how it went. They should be able to answer the rest of those questions.

Remember that the most important things that all employers look for is energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the job.

Good luck!