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Hiring managers reveal worst resume mistake you can make

When it comes to writing your resume, there are some common mistakes you need to avoid, says Lesley Mitler, cofounder of Early Stage Careers.

“There are a number of common mistakes that I see with resumes: they're too long, or people leave out experiences so that there are gaps in terms of time,” she says. “People are also using acronyms—you need to spell things out.”

But a critical mistake that is becoming increasingly easier for managers to spot are lies on resumes: a study by HR firm HireRight found 85% of employers uncovered a lie or misrepresentation on a candidate's resume. That’s up from 66% five years ago.

According to a survey of 1,000 workers by Robert Half recruiting, 76% of candidates have lied about job experience, 55% have lied about job duties, and 33% have lied about their education. However, a background check will typically uncover those inconsistencies. Over 90% of employers conduct background checks, according to a 2018 survey of 6,500 HR professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resources.

Because a recruiter quickly scans your resume, you need to make an impression — and fast, says Mitler. “They have to be able to take in the resume and decide, do they want to stay with it do they want to get rid of it?“ Mitler said.

But instead of embellishing or out-right fibbing, frame your actual accomplishments in the best possible light. Update your resume every few months so you can keep track of your accomplishments and get more specific with your skills and job duties.

Study the job description and adapt your resume: one size does not fit all. You’ll have a much better chance of catching a recruiter’s eye if they see you’ve taken the time to tailor your resume to match the job posting. Because nearly all of the Fortune 500 companies are using electronic systems to screen applications for specific keywords, many of the resumes that get screened get rejected.

Finally, don’t forget your LinkedIn page. This is a place to add more detail and experience that may not have fit on your resume. You can get more thorough here, but the same cardinal rule applies: no lying. Watch for spelling and grammar errors, and use a current, professional-looking photo.

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