15 simple mistakes to avoid in a resume
Applying for jobs can be become really frustrating if you are not hearing back from the companies and not getting invitations to job interviews. It might look really difficult to write a good and attractive resume. Many applicants make costly mistakes in their resumes, but these resume mistakes can be easily avoided!
What are actually the mistakes to avoid in a resume?
Here are 15 mistakes that can be easily avoided in your resume:
1. Not targeted resume
Each resume has to be targeted and tailored to a specific position. Job positions are usually published with a standard industry title like e.g. Marketing manager, Personal assistant, Secretary etc. but each position might require slightly different skills and experience. Read the job posting carefully and use it as a starting point. By tailoring your resume to the specific job position you want, you show your value and you stand out from other candidates.
TIP: Always tailor your resume to the specific position you are applying for.
2. You are too abstract and vague
The resume is not only about describing your past experiences but also making the resume specific to the hiring person. Be specific when describing your old positions, achievements and your provided value. Use numbers here to make your resume specific. People like numbers as everybody can relate to them. You can use some metrics or standards you were measured by the previous employer e.g. monthly sales target, marketing impact, profit generation, reducing costs for the company, managing a team of people etc. If there are numbers you can use to show your contribution, go for them.
TIP: Use numbers to describe your achievements and provided value.
3. Unprofessional email address
Don’t put an unprofessional email address at the top of your resume. It is embarrassing and the reader wouldn’t take you seriously. No addresses like Goodboy, SweetPankace, BadLad878 etc.! Instead use an email with your full name e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. Use known email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc. It can be also practical to create a new email address used only for your job applications.
TIP: Use only a professional email address in your resume.
4. Skipping important parts in the resume
Skipping necessary resume sections might be the reason why you are not hearing from the companies. Depending on where you are in your career, consider which resume parts are beneficial for you. If you are a recent graduate or have a limited professional experience, keep your education in the higher position of the resume. With more years of experience, the education is less relevant and can be placed much lower on the resume with fewer details.
In general, keep these sections in your resume: Contact details, Career/Professional Summary, Professional Experience, Education and other relevant information to the job position like Awards and Achievements, Community Work, Volunteering, beneficial Hobbies and Interests.
TIP: Check that you include all important parts of the resume.
5. Being irrelevant in your resume
It all comes with points above, but I’ll repeat it again. Include only relevant information to the job position. There is no benefit of including extra information make the resume full or longer. Keep only relevant information and skip unnecessary sections. Including for example all your part-time jobs or hobbies won’t give you an advantage unless it’s beneficial to the position.
Would you read a whole document about driving when you are actually looking for a cooking recipe? Make your resume a recipe everyone wants to pick!
TIP: Keep only relevant and beneficial information on your resume.
6. Too long or too short resume
Many applicants think that the longer resume is the better. In some cases, it could be true, however mostly, it’s not. If you don’t have a lot of experience or just finished studying, keep your resume to the max. 1 page. Later in your career, you can have more pages e.g. senior positions could have even 3 pages, but in general 2 pages with a longer career history are enough.
If your resume is too long, check if you included the most relevant information and necessary resume sections. Also, check if you have the right resume formatting and design. Check your margins, font family and size and spacing between. For more information on how to make your resume more attractive check my post HERE
TIP: Don’t make your resume too long with irrelevant information.
7. Spelling and grammar mistakes
Having spelling or grammar mistakes in your resume is very costly! Always check your resume for spelling and grammar mistakes before you submit your resume. Print the resume and read it or try reading the resume on a different electronic device or screen. Also, you can ask your friend or family member to provide feedback and look for resume mistakes. There are also grammar checkers available online or in Word but don’t rely on them too much as they are far from perfect.
TIP: Check your spelling and grammar!
8. Not being truthful/lying on your resume
You might think that you can outsmart a hiring person by lying on your resume. These people are in the recruiting business for some time and they always spot a liar. If something doesn’t add up, they find it out. If you have gaps in your resume, simply explain it, don’t try to hide it. There is no need to be afraid of including activities like personal projects, travelling or volunteering.
TIP: Never lie on your resume! The employer will sooner or later find out.
9. Using buzzword and unnecessary words
Very often resumes are filled with clutter and unnecessary words. Stick to keeping your resume clear and to the point. Also, check the style you write in. Don’t use personal pronouns like I, we etc., write your resume in a third person. Using catchy words and jargon might look good, but it usually doesn’t show that you’ve got necessary skills and experience for the job position. Simplicity wins in this one.
TIP: Don’t use buzzwords in your resume.
10. Wrong resume format
Choose the right resume format for your situation and career stage. You can have a chronological resume, skills-based resume or mixed of both. All formats have different advantages and disadvantages. You need to choose which resume format has the highest value for your application. Check my post on choosing a Good Resume Format HERE.
11. Resume design mistakes
Failing to make your resume look good to the reader can be also costly. Writing a good resume can be a difficult task as you need to consider many aspects of the application and process. Designing, structuring and polishing your final resume can be done with little Word or Pages skills. Making your resume looks good can be the winning factor. Don’t forget, hiring people want to read a resume with a nice outline, easy to orient in and good-looking resume.
Check 19 Easy Ways to Make Your Resume Attractive for more tips on resume design.
TIP: Spend some time on perfecting your resume design and making your resume beautiful.
12. Overused words
Don’t use the same words over and over. You can use synonyms to describe your achievements and skills. Pick different action verbs in your resume.
TIP: Use different action verbs to describe your achievements and past experience.
13. Including photos
Don’t include photos on your resume unless it’s required by the application form or because of the job’s nature e.g. model, actor, public figure etc. A photo of you is not necessary to include for many job positions. Including a photo might cause an accusation of discrimination, thus employers tend to reject these resumes to avoid further complications.
TIP: Don’t include a photo of your resume unless specified or given by the nature of the job.
14. Salary details
Nobody needs to know how much you earn and how much you expect from your future employer. This can be discussed during interviews and actually better negotiated as the employer would know you better and the value you can bring to the company.
TIP: Don’t state any salary details on your resume.
15. Objective section
This section used to be very popular and used by many applicants, however, the trend of including resume objective is less and less. If you apply for a job position, the employer knows what you want. Surprisingly enough the job you are applying for! It’s more about what you can provide to the company and your added value. I would only use this section if the resumes are hand out at a job fair or job market. In this case, the reader would know what you are looking for and can contact you later. Turn objective section to a Career Profile, Career Summary, Professional Summary etc. In this section, you write a short pitch about you and show your value.
TIP: Don’t include an objective section in your resume.
To sum up 15 resume mistakes to avoid in a resume
In this post, I wanted to describe 15 resume mistakes that can be easily avoided by everybody. It doesn’t take much time and you will see results soon.
Always keep your resume targeted to the job position and concrete. Check the language you use, buzzwords and grammar. Pick the right resume format, include necessary sections and spend some time finishing your resume with a good resume design. Skip parts like photos, salary details and objective section.
What are other mistakes that applicants could avoid? Let us know in the comments below.
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