I’ve noticed that nearly all candidates who are rejected before an interview make the same key resume mistakes that fail to showcase their potential. Their content just doesn’t catch recruiters’ attentions or pique the curiosity that’s needed to get called in for an interview.

Here are the top three resume mistakes that could cost you a new opportunity:

1. Having an objective statement.

This is a resume mistake that I see too many people making. Objective statements are brief descriptions of what you’re looking for in your career, typically found at the top of your resume. Stating your career aspirations isn’t a bad idea during an interview when your potential employer is trying to assess your motivations behind applying; however, your resume isn’t the place for it.

A resume is essentially your sales pitch to the Hiring Manager. If you were pitching a product or service to someone, you would never talk about what the sale would do for you. Instead, you would focus on making the product seem like an amazing purchase. The same goes for your resume: using up this valuable real estate to talk about your goals leaves less space for pitching your talents in the form of a personal branding statement or keyword table.

2. Making it longer than two pages.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a resume only to find that it’s over 2 pages. In my experience, this is because the candidate isn’t able to communicate concisely, which is a major turn-off to recruiters. Here are the guidelines I always recommend abiding by:

  • Under 7 years of experience: one page
  • Over 7 years of experience: two pages

It’s as simple as that! The reasoning behind it is this: if you’re at the beginning of your career, you should be concise and specific enough about your experience that it shouldn’t extend beyond a page. On the flip side, as you progress in your career, experience you gained more than five years ago will become less relevant and so shouldn’t have more than 2-3 bullet points per position.

3. Failing to target it to what they’re aiming for.

When recruiters scan resumes, they should be able to tell within the first five seconds what you’re targeting. Your functional keywords, action verbs, and personal branding statement should all align with the types of positions you’re seeking. The top mistake I see candidates make is including unnecessary details that don’t relate to their application.

An amazing source of ideas for what you should and shouldn’t include in your resume is the job posting and descriptions of similar positions at other companies. I recommend making sure that you demonstrate you’ve got what it takes to perform the core responsibilities of your target role while interspersing important keywords throughout your content.

What are some other common resume mistakes you’ve noticed? Do you have any questions about your content? Let me know in the comments section!