10 Resume Mistakes You'll Want to Avoid

Ah, the resume: most of us never even think about it until it’s time to ramp up the job search, and once it’s needed it becomes the most important document in your possession. Your resume is usually the first introduction between you and the job you want. If it’s not executed flawlessly, it could result in a rejection before you’ve even gotten a chance to interview.


Don’t let that be the case. Here are the top resume mistakes most people make and how to avoid them:

  1. Lack of professionalism

You’d be amazed at the number of irresponsible mistakes which cause even the most well-meaning resumes to be thrown in the bin. Typos and grammatical mistakes are top of the list, so double- and triple-check your document before sending it. Include a professional-sounding email, and do not ever blast the same resume and cover letter out to multiple jobs or recruiters at once. Take the time to make the right impression. You only get one chance.

  1. Forgetting Keywords

The recruiter on the other end of that resume database uses keyword search to find the right candidates. Be sure keywords from the job description show up somewhere in your resume. It will help you ascend to the top of the pile.

  1. Vagueness

Your resume is a personal document that shows you took time, care, and concern to create it. Don’t simply list the tasks you performed in your last position(s.) This is about your accomplishments! List why you were amazing in your last role(s), and actively campaign as the top candidate for this next position. Be specific.

  1. Irrelevant work experiences

Your resume should sell your qualifications for a specific position, so if you have work experience in your past that doesn’t apply, there’s no need to include it. If you only have work experience that’s unrelated, be sure to describe the skills you’ve obtained that would make you a good fit for the job you want now.

  1. Adding personal information and references

Don’t list your age, marital status, religion, or any other type of personal information on a resume. It’s illegal for a potential employer to ask, and it makes things awkward. Also, if references are needed, the employer will ask.

  1. Too much text

Your resume should be short, sweet, and to the point. Going on about each position for a five-page resume is going to get you rejected. Keep it to a maximum of five bullets per position, describe your accomplishments in each. Done.

  1. Peppering your resume with company-specific jargon

Every industry has specific “inside baseball” references, and most companies have their own internal language. Your recruiter will not take time to decipher these terms and phrases. Use common language to ensure you get the interview.

  1. Drop the industry buzzwords

“Out of the box thinker,” “best of breed,” “go-getter,” and references to terms from popular business books only annoy hiring managers. Be straightforward in your speech, and use action terms like “achieved,” “launched,” “created,” “managed” and “resolved” to get the attention you deserve.

  1. Complicated fonts and type size

Update your resume from Times New Roman or other serif fonts to a more modern typeface like Arial, and never use fancy script fonts (they’re harder to read.) Also make sure the font is a decent size: if you have to shrink the font to make sure everything fits, edit your text.

  1. Leaving gaps or over-explaining absences

Gaps in resumes are more common than you think, but don’t explain on your resume why you left a position. Save it for your interview. You should also consider leaving short-term positions off your resume, particularly if you were let go or the experience was unpleasant.

You deserve that amazing job, so use these tools to craft a resume that will get you noticed and get you hired. Good luck!

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