Common Resume Mistakes You Should Avoid

Make your first impression the best impression. Recruiters learn first about you from your resume. So it is important that your resume stands out among the hundreds applying for the job.

Mistakes on your resume can be costly. Employers make judgments about your education and attention to detail based on your resume.  Let’s dive and look at common resume pitfalls and how you can make your resume stand out.

Common Resume Mistakes You Should Avoid

Not tailoring the resume for the job

Tailoring your resume for every job is time-consuming.  So it is not surprising that most candidates create one generic resume and use it for every job they apply.

These days your resume has to go through a robot (computer program) and if you get past that,  a human recruiter.  A recruiter spends only a few seconds scanning the resume.  A generic resume will not stand out as they are looking for someone who is a good fit for a particular job.

When you are interested in a job posting, think about how your skills and accomplishments match up with what is required for the job.  Highlight your achievements that are most relevant to the job.

Not listing accomplishments and listing the job duties

Most job candidates simply list out the job duties for every job they have had.  But employers are interested in your accomplishments.  So highlight your accomplishments to show employers that you excelled at your job and didn’t merely carry out the day-to-day activities.

Accomplishment could include successfully achieving sales quota,  representing your company at a conference, or delivering a project on time despite the challenges you faced.

Not using Numbers (measurable accomplishments)

Most resumes include just blocks of text.  Use numbers to build credibility and stand out to employers. Including metrics makes employers pay more attention to your resume. Numbers make your accomplishments quantifiable.

  • When discussing your accomplishment in sales or money saved, use dollars
  • If you improved efficiency of a process, use percentages
  • If you increased market share, include percentages 

Not checking resume for typos and grammatical errors

Typos and grammatical errors on your resume reflect poorly on the candidate.  In a survey, almost half of the employers said that they will reject a candidate if the resume has typos because it shows a lack of attention to detail on the part of the candidate.

Recently I came across a resume where a candidate’s last job title was listed as “Principle Business Analyst”. I am sure the candidate meant “Principal Business Analyst”.  This person did not advance to the next round.

Once you finish writing your resume, take a break.  Come back and read it with a fresh set of eyes.  Have a friend proofread your resume. If you are a student, use your school’s resume services to craft your resume.

Not including unpaid but relevant jobs

You may think that your job as an unpaid intern may not matter.  But if the job taught you skills relevant to the job you are applying, list the job on your resume.  The fact that you were willing to take a job without pay shows that you are not just after money and that you are willing to learn.


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