H1B Job Seekers - Top 10 Resume Mistakes to Avoid

A professionally constructed, standardized, formatted and presented US resume leads to consideration for more job opportunities, and, better job opportunities with higher salaries.

For International job seekers seeking a new career in the USA, it's worth the investment to make sure you get more consideration and less rejection. In short: a professionally prepared US resume will generate better and faster results, with less work and effort spent on time consuming applications.

A Foreign style formatted and presented CV typically leads to very little except dissapointment and never hearing back from US employers. In short: Foreign style CV's are in-effective in the US employment market.

Without a professional US resume your chances of making the short list for a job position will be significantly reduced. Many International job seekers have realized that the cost of a well written, formatted and presented resume is insignificant when compared to the potential benefits and the ROI it brings (both now, and in years to come).

Below are 10 of the most common mistakes that many US employers say will almost guarantee your resume never makes it past round one:

1. Too Much Personal Details 

There are a few personal details you should include on a resume: full name and contact information, including email, phone number and address. But beyond that, personal details should be kept to a minimum. 

Personal details including but not limited to: Your age, race, religion, marital status, political affiliation, anything about your family members, and home ownership status should all be left off your resume. What's often confusing to many job seekers located overseas iis that a lot of personal information is typically included on international CV's.

In the U.S., including personal data is a definite no-no because it leaves the job seeker open to discrimination and rejection. Furthermore, strict laws in the USA make it illegal for employers to discriminate against job candidates based on Personal details, so including it put's them in an awkward position and in many cases legally forces them to have to reject the application (especially in medium-large Corporations).

2. Work Responsibilities When You Were a Teenager, and Your Hobbies

Don't include information that will not advance you in your career goals. Anything extraneous should be left off your resume. That includes hobbies and irrelevant jobs you held many years ago.

For entry level it is acceptable to include any internships, projects or part time work. For mid and senior level workers always limit your work history to professional experience you've had in the past 10 years (or greater, if it was a C-level position), and place most focus and attention to detail for work experience in the last 3-5 years.

3. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

Mistakes demonstrate a lack of effort, a lack of dedication and willingness to self-educate and learn what's correct, and a lack of attention to detail. Employers often associate this with how a candidate will perform work duties in the future. No employer wants a sloppy worker, so proofread and triple check to make sure there are no mistakes, anywhere.

4. Salary Expectations

Most job candidates feel uneasy discussing salary requirements. Giving a number that's too high, or too low can cost you the job. You should keep it out of your application materials entirely, unless the hiring manager asks for it.

If they specifically ask for it, do some research for the position level in that City, and give them a range. If you have the option, save that discussion for a later stage of the interviewing process, ideally once the interviewer brings it up.

5. Lies

This should really go without saying, but career coaches and resume writers alike report that the line between embellishment and fabrication is often crossed by job applicants -- and that they've seen it cost job offers.

One of the most common areas in which people fudge the facts is the timeline of their work history. Whether it's using false information to cover a blemish or exaggerate success, there's no room to lie on your resume. No matter how miniscule the chance is that you'll be caught, you should always represent yourself as accurately as possible. If/when found out, it signifies a lack of honesty and integrity, and it will almost certainly result in a retraction of the job offer.

6. Things That Were Once Labeled "Confidential"

In many jobs, you will handle proprietary information. Having inside information from your positions at previous employers might make you feel important -- but if you use that information to pad your resume, chances are it will raise a red flag.

Confidential information should never be shared, it shows poor judgment. If you're sharing the names of your clients, in-house financial dealings, or anything else that might be for your eyes only, it can backfire in two ways. The prospective employer will know that you can't be trusted with sensitive information; and your current (or former) employer might find out what you have been sharing and it could be grounds for dismissal or even a lawsuit.

7. If You Were Fired From a Job -- and What You Were Fired for

Your resume should put you in a positive light. Including that you were let go for poor performance, stealing from the company, or any other fault of your own will have the exact opposite effect.

Leave out information about a situation that positions you negatively, such as 'I got fired' or 'I mishandled funds. Leave out anything that suggests you used poor judgment in your current or former job.

Following this advice does not violate the rule about lying, it's just not information that's required or needs to be included on a resume. If you're asked to explain why you left a job, you need to bite the bullet and be straightforward, but until then, make sure you're putting your best foot forward.

8. Overly Verbose Statements

There is a pretty fine line between selling yourself and overselling yourself. Too many resumes overstate the importance of job responsibilities.

Job seekers with limited experience try to put themselves in a 'management' light, using phrases like "Spearheaded high-profile projects through supervision of others, leading by example". Keep your flair for the dramatic to a minimum, so resume readers can get a picture of what your real responsibilities were with your past or current company.

A resume written in paragraphs full of Capital letters not only looks terrible and unprofessionally presented, it's not the natural flow of how the eyes are trained to read; so the brain has to work overtime to clearly see and comprehend the most important and relevant details.

This makes it very off putting and much more difficult for an employer to read, and will result in less attention and consideration. Use capital letters sparingly and at the start of relevant words only.  

10. TMI - Too Much Information
Too much information can ruin the presentation for an 'eye-catching' and easy-to-consider resume application, and is almost never a good idea.

It's particularly bad when it's put in front of hiring managers who are busy, tired, and quite frankly, probably not going to read your resume word-for-word. If you put too much information in your resume, recruiters will likely not read it at all or just scan it quickly.

Too much detail is damaging because it looks like hard work so immediately puts the reader off (which means it has less chance of getting read or considered). It suggests that you get lost in seeing the forest for the trees and also suggests an attachment to information. It's a burden to the reader, and these days, readers of resumes don't want to be burdened.