Resume, Writing Services

Top 10 Resume Mistakes

Do not let the stress of hunting for a job lead to simple errors. Make life easier for you by preparing yourself for the job market by eliminating common errors. This not only sets you up for an easier job hunt, it can make the entire experience a much more positive one overall.

One way to make the search easier is to have high-quality documents on hand to use for applications. If you want to make sure that your job search is not in vain, then pay attention to and avoid the following mistakes that will land your resume in the recycling bin.

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1. Leaving Typos and Misspellings

The number one problem that many applicants fail to avoid is grammar and typing mistakes. This is understandable: after staring at a document for a while, finding random misspellings and typos can become a huge challenge. But it is essential that you, or someone close to you, reads every word of your resume to catch any problems. Sending in something less than spotless signals that you don’t care about the position, or have no attention to detail.

2. Including Inconsistent Punctuation and Formatting

You can’t brag about your attention to detail if your resume doesn’t display that attention. Your resume needs to be consistent: pick a coherent color scheme, use the same style of bullets across the entire document, and do not change fonts mid-section. 

If you can’t maintain a coherent structure across a single page, then how do you convince a hiring manager you can do so every day on the job?

3. Providing Examples, not Accomplishments

A general rule of thumb for resumes: use action verbs to describe your experience.  

It’s cliché, but unavoidably true.

Descriptions that don’t focus on action tend to lack emphasis on what youdid, instead describing what you were. Which is a problem, because prospective employers want to know your value to previous employers, not your job title.

Show what you did with verbs that denote activity, accomplishment, and leadership.

​4. Providing Flat Experience Descriptions

If you are too bored to describe your previous professional accomplishments with any excitement, don’t expect a recruiter to be anything but bored with you.

 Action verbs only take you so far. Use active language that shows that you drove innovation and success. Use words that suggest leadership. Find words that describe what you did, but sound enthusiastic about your previous work (and the people you did it with). 

5. Not Including Keywords

The resume is about you. But it’s also about the company and the position. Job advertisements contain keywords describing the job - either implicitly as part of the description or explicitly in a “keywords” or “qualifications” section. Your resume should contain these words somewhere, no matter if it is part of your experience or in your professional summary. If the recruiter or the application screening software can’t pick up on keywords that aren’t there, then you might as well not have applied in the first place. 

6. Not Including Relevant Skills

Job advertisements typically include the skills and qualifications they want. Make sure that you focus on these in multiple places throughout your document. For starters, include a “Skills” section that lists your hard skills, software known, or programming languages that you have learned. Furthermore, your job experience bullets should absolutely mention any of the hard and soft skills listed. Use that space as a place to show where you put your skills in action, to show that you know why those skills are valuable.

7. Providing Too Much Information

If you are brand new in your industry and your resume is 3 pages long, you are providing too much information. A resume is not your life story… it is a blueprint for your experience and potential. Resumes should be clean, easy to read, and have clear sections with just enough information to give the recruiter an idea of how you fit the job description.

8. Using a Generic “Objective Statement” Over an In-Depth Summary

Many resume templates include a generic objective like: 

Motivated project manager seeking a position in leadership for an innovative software company.

There is a reason they include these for templates: because they aren’t meant to actually be there. If you have an objective that looks anything like this, delete it and write a targeted summary that states your job title, 1-3 skills, and the position and company you are applying for.

An objective statement doesn’t do much for resumes. They simply state what you want, rather than what you do or what you bring to the table. The only thing worse than an objective is a generic one. 

9.  Presenting a Resume That is Over (or Under)

Graphic design applicants shouldn’t necessarily turn in a plain black-and-white resume, and professional corporate applicants might now want to submit a resume full of distracting and unnecessary design elements. A good resume fits the position and the industry, so if your industry is creative and artistic, a creative resume might suit you well. But if you are applying to a desk-oriented job with 100 additional applicants, your multi-colored, alternative resume might irritate a hiring manager, rather than intrigue them.

10. Including Gaps in Work Experience

 If you have significant gaps in your employment history, do not include them in your job experience. It leads to questions of drive, motivation, or employability. If possible, omit jobs that might show a gap, especially if they are jobs from a while ago when you were in school or between life events (moving, family, etc.). Also, just because you weren’t “employed” doesn’t mean you weren’t working: list any freelance or contract work you did, which shows that while you didn’t have a traditional employer, you were still producing value for clients. 

Sometimes, however, this is unavoidable. In which case, don’t lie about gaps. Just be prepared to honestly discuss why you may have a gap in employment. 

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