There’s nothing worse than spending hours on your resume, only to catch an embarrassing mistake moments after hitting submit on your application. As a career coach and former hiring manager, I’ve seen my fair share of resume blunders and bloopers over the years. While some resume mistakes are negligible, others can ruin your chances of landing an interview. Continue reading for six of the most common resume mistakes. Are you making any of them?
6 Top Resume Mistakes To Avoid
1. Embarrassing typos
For starters, you only get one first impression with potential employers, and a resume typo can quickly ruin it. A few of the most embarrassing typos I’ve come across include:
- “Pubic relations manager” instead of “public relationships manager”
- “Anal sales” instead of “annual sales”
- “Managing steakholders” instead of “managing stakeholders”
Solution: If you’re not already using it, Grammarly is a helpful tool to reduce writing errors. Microsoft Word and similar writing software also allow have Read Aloud features that can help you catch typos. Then, consider having a trusted friend, mentor, or coach serve as another set of eyes before hitting submit on your application.
2. Outdated resume objective statements
Next, let’s talk about one of the most debated resume mistakes — objective statements. Oftentimes, these objective statements are akin to, “I’m looking for a job,” which is redundant and unnecessary in today’s day and age. Yet some job seekers still choose to include them.
Solution: Replace your resume objective statement with a brief summary that highlights your experience, qualifications, and career accomplishments. Your new summary should quickly communicate why you’re a fit for the role, as well as what sets you apart from other applicants (AKA your fabulousness).
3. “Resume fluff”
Another common resume mistake is sharing superfluous details, or what I like to call “resume fluff.” Some applicants do this because they feel like their resume needs to be symmetrical, with each role having the same number of bullet points, while others feel they need to meticulously detail Every. Single. Thing. They. Ever. Did. This isn’t necessary and makes it more difficult for the recruiter to identify your qualifications.
Solution: Remember that the focus of your resume is to land you an interview, not share your life story. Consequently, you want to include details that help the reader understand how you’re qualified for the role but not bore them with unnecessary resume fluff. You can summarize less relevant and earlier roles, as well as omit inessential details (for example, your graduation year).
4. Unnecessary personal details
While on the topic of oversharing, let’s talk about personal details. Many job seekers, particularly if they’re used to writing a curriculum vitae (CV), feel the need to share demographic information on their resume. Although some countries require certain personal details on their CVs, doing so in the United States is frowned upon and can even get your application passed over.
Solution: Be mindful of what you decide to disclose on your resume. If you have the following details on your resume, consider removing them.
- Home address
- Marital status
- Protected class information like national origin, sex, and age
- Salary information
5. Graphic resume templates
An additional common resume mistake is the incorrect use of templates. While a strategically crafted template can make the process of writing your resume easier, many of the ones found online are poorly designed by someone who lacks an understanding of recruiting. For instance, they often include a spot for your headshot, which is unnecessary in the United States.
Solution: Proceed with caution before using a graphic resume temple you found online. Unless you’re applying for a design-forward role, formatting your resume in Microsoft Word will more than suffice. The important thing is that your resume communicates how you align with the qualifications in the job posting.
6. An unreadable resume
Speaking of resume templates, a common resume blunder is submitting a document that will be incorrectly parsed by the applicant tracking system (ATS). This is often due to placing content in headers and footers, using tables, or opting for a multi-column design format.
Solution: Skip the fancy formatting and use a simple, single-column design for your resume. You can add a pop of color to grab the recruiter’s attention and direct them to the most impressive items on your resume without distracting them from the content. Additionally, avoid including important content in the headers, footers, or tables. There are hundreds of ATS on the market, but converting your resume to .txt can give you an idea of how a typical one may parse it.
Recruiting and hiring trends are constantly evolving, and I’ve named just a few of the most common resume mistakes I regularly encounter. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about how to improve and optimize your resume. I’m here for you! You’ve got this!