6 Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid


Welcome, fellow job-seekers, to 2019!  If you’re like us, you probably celebrated ushering 2018 out with an unceremonious kick in the pants with a lively toast, maybe a kiss or two, and much noisemaking.  If you were lucky, you managed to avoid the inevitable trainwreck of cable television coverage of the countdown and instead focused on ringing in the New Years with family, friends, and merrymaking.

Now that we’re well into the thick of January, and well past the aftereffects of merrymaking, it’s time to get serious about that job search.  For most of us looking to forge new career paths, that means freshening up, or even starting from scratch, on that killer resume that is sure to capture the attention of recruiters, hiring managers, and networking contacts.  Before you head straight over to Rescue My Resumes to get a jump start on your power CV, however, let’s take a few moments to delve into a few frequent mishaps we all encounter during the application process and how you can set yourself up for success by avoiding these all too common resume mistakes.

Failing to Proofread

We all remember Mrs. Smith from 8th-grade English who seemed to have a fondness for marking our assignments up with her magical red felt-tipped pen.  While we may not be as lucky in our adult years to be graced with a mandatory editor, this doesn’t excuse would-be job seekers from spelling, format and other errors in their professional CV’s.  

Before you send off that resume, seek out a trusted mentor or friend to review your resume for obvious errors.  Formatting, spelling, and other errors are low hanging fruit in today’s competitive job market and hiring managers are likely to send your candidacy to the circular recycling bin as a result.  If you’re a recent college graduate, take advantage of your alma mater’s recruitment office for their proofreading and resume best practices potential to help streamline your first, second, or subsequent drafts.

Including Irrelevant Info

Were you the captain of your High School varsity debate club?  Did you get high honors in your regional Eagle Scouts troop? Maybe your grandmother thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread?  While all of these may be fulfilling memories to share over a glass of beer with friends on those “I was awesome way back when” nights, chances are it won’t amount to much when included on a professional CV.

Your resume should be a current and relevant snapshot of your qualifications, experience, and skills.  Including out of date information or stats that aren’t applicable to the job you are applying for not only takes up excess room, it can also make your resume less appealing to prospective employers.  Give your resume an annually scheduled once over to remove outdated and unnecessary info to keep things fresh and up to date.

Not Checking Your Dates

Speaking of dates…there are few things that will raise more red flags than large employment gaps or errors in dates on your resume.  From the employer or recruiter’s standpoint, having dates that don’t match up can make it appear that you lack attention to detail. In addition, if the hiring manager or HR contact performs a routine employment check, out of alignment dates of prior employment can give the impression that you’re misrepresenting prior work.

Improper Formatting

Have you ever started reading a novel, story, or newspaper article, only to pause when you come across large gaps in text or misaligned bullets in a list?  It’s only natural when reviewing large amounts of information for your eye to pause or falter over something that seems out of place. Changes in font type or size, mismatched margins, or inconsistent bulleting can all disrupt the reader’s intake of your vital resume details.  Additionally, in a competitive job market, many employers will look to x-factors such as attention to detail in formatting as a reason to single candidate’s out, and not in a positive way.

Using the Passive Voice

One of the biggest pet peeves for recruiters and decision makers when reviewing resumes is a candidate’s poor or incorrect description of their duties and responsibilities in their various job histories.  Under a given job title or description, many would be job seekers often use a conversational tone to describe their past work. If you’re tempted to bust out the “I was a manager of a team of ten people” type of sentence, instead try “Managed a dynamic ten-person team” instead.  The difference may seem nuanced but will make a big impact on the decision maker who’s been reviewing dozens of resumes for an open position.

Submitting a Generic Resume

When it comes to common resume mistakes to avoid, we’ve managed to save the best, and most avoidable, hiccup for last.  Many job applicants mistakenly believe that one resume is all they need to help put their best foot forward. Savvy job-seekers, and regular readers of the Rescue my Resumes blog, however, know this is far from the case.

No two jobs are created equal.  Much the same can be said for the resume you submit for various positions.  Perhaps on job opening has a larger focus on someone with managerial skills.  Another position is interested in those with a history of strong teamwork. Or maybe you’ve held numerous jobs in a variety of fields, but only a few of those are applicable to the current listing you’re applying to.

Each of the above scenarios calls for a resume that is tailored for the position for which you’re applying.  If it sounds like a lot of work to maintain these various databases of work history, you’re in luck. Rescue my Resumes’ professional advice, customizable templates, and expert guidance are all here to help you craft the resume, or resumes, that are the perfect fit for the job at hand.  

Have another piece of advice you’d like to share with fellow job seekers when it comes to resume don’ts?  Leave a comment below and tell us your resume success, or horror, story. In the meantime, head on over to RescuemyResumes.com for industry-leading advice and helpful and entertaining blogs that will help set you on the right path for job finding success.


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