22 Most Common Resume Mistakes

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Preparing a resume is easy, but writing an impressive resume without any mistake is complex. You need to take care of many things when you start building your resume, no matter, whether you are a fresher, mid-level experienced professional, or a high-level experienced professional. In this article, we will discuss about the most common resume mistakes and ways to rectify them.

Mistake 1: Spellings, Grammar & Punctuation Mistakes

There is no point in having job relevant skills, experiences, strengths, etc. in your resume unless you express it without having spellings, grammar and punctuation mistakes. These mistakes may create your image as – unprofessional, careless and having poor writing skills.

Your resume need to be grammatically perfect, otherwise the reader may not understand what you have written, or he/she may skip some important lines of your resume and start reading from where he/she understand the things.

Mistake 2: Lack of supporting info to showcase your skills

Highlighting only your experience/designation with a specific industry/organization is not enough for a hiring manager to know, what exactly you have achieved/learned from a particular job, or what best you have done for company growth. Therefore, your resume should emphasize beyond the regular activities you have done at work. You should specify what you have done to make yourself unique and the best fit for the job you are applying for. For example,
Cashier Resume - Job Duties
  • Handled and resolved billing & customer issues Handled and resolved billing & customer issues, helped customers in their purchase decision, maintained cash register, kept a record of POS operation, backup inventory and stocks which increased the monthly sales by 20 – 30 %.
In both the job duties,

First one is highlighting only a cashier job role. But the second one is explaining what a cashier has learned and done best for the company’s growth. When a hiring manager looks at these two profiles, he will be more convinced by the second one.

Mistake 3: Resume length - not too long and not too short

It is good to end the resume in one or two pages, but not forcefully. The resume should be short and crisp. The employer should clearly understand what you are trying to explain about your work experience and education history shortly.

For the sake of maintaining the resume standard, people try to accumulate everything in one/two pages without emphasizing on the critical information which the employer can understand easily.

It doesn't mean you should end your resume in five pages; if you have good years of experience with many achievements, accomplishments, and project details, you can go beyond two pages, but not more than three pages.

Mistake 4: Unclear objective

Although, the objective is a top and the main section of the resume, employers cannot pass through without reading it. Sometime, employers get more interested to keep-on reading your resume after reading objective section. Therefore, highlight something special that can focus on their needs and yours as well. For Example,

  • Seeking a job in a reputed industry that offers professional growth.
  • Seeking a challenging entry-level sales & marketing position that leverage me to use my skills in adding value to the company growth & development.

More than the first example, second one will cater to the employer because, the candidate has shown interest towards company growth & development.

Mistake #5: Less use of action verbs

Avoid using phrases like "responsible for". As an alternative, use action verbs like – Determined, Discussed, Invented, Solved, Sold, and Researched. For example;

  • Handled and Resolved users 100 queries everyday as part of a customer support representative
  • Developed and maintained project management system, increased production rate by 60%

Mistake 5: Large text and fonts

If your resume is looking too large with wall-to-wall text featuring different fonts, styles and colors, it can give a headache to the employer or your resume may get rejected at the first glance.

Therefore, make your resume in a normal page layout with margins – 1’’ Top, 1’’ Bottom, 1’’ Right, 1’’ left. Choose a standard, non-decorative font, such as “Arial, Cambria, Calibri, Times New Roman, or Verdana” with the font size between 10 - 14 points to highlight content in your resume. If you create your resume using standard font and font size, your resume will be easily readable if it is faxed, scanned or photocopied.

Mistake 6: Wrong contact details

Your resume might be awesome, but it's not worth a penny if your contact details (Name, email, address and phone number) are incorrect. Therefore, recheck your contact detail before uploading to the job portals and sending directly to the employers.

Mistake 7: Personal details

Don’t include any personal details like marital status, religious preference, state of health, date of birth, height, weight, social security number, licenses etc. on your resume. Usually employers don't care about those stuffs, except your name, city, state and contact number.

In future, if any of your personal details are required for the employment, the employer will collect those details personally. In addition, don’t include your interests on your resume, unless they are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Mistake 8: Your age

You may have to mention your age, while applying to the job through online application form, but the same thing is not necessary in the resume. In case, if you mention your age in the resume and opening in not suitable for your age, you may be discarded from the interview even if you are best suited for the job.

Hence, if the age is not mandatory in the resume, avoid it, otherwise, the employer may have second thoughts about calling you for the interview.

Mistake 9: References

Adding references in a resume is not mandatory. Many companies won't give much importance to it at the initial stages. It is up-to you,to decide whether you like to add it in your resume, or want to use the same space for highlighting your more job-relevant skills and work experiences.

Our advice is to add it at the bottom of the resume if you wish to add it.

Mistake 10: Personal pronouns

Don’t write your resume using personal pronouns or articles – I, me, he, she, it, you, my, yours, etc... Your resume should be written in a telegraphic manner. For example,

  • Bad resume content -  I contributed in a new product development that increased 15% sales
  • Good resume content - Contributed in a new product development that increased 15% sales

Therefore, no need to write your resume as a first person/third person, because, the employer knows very well that the resume is yours and it is highlighting your information only.

Mistake 11: Using present tense for a past job

Never use present tense to describe your past job history, otherwise the employer may get confused while analyzing your current and past job experience.

Mistake 12: Highlighting negative points in the resume

Almost, everyone went through dark moments in their past life, but it doesn’t mean, the story should come out in your resume. The resume is a promotional document which should showcase your positive characteristic towards things, not negative.

If you really want to say someone about your dark story, say to your close friend while sitting alone with him, or to the employer once you get hired and you are firmly in place.

Mistake 13: Listing unwanted job details

Most job applicants make their resume lengthier by including unnecessary job details are not required for the given job profile. Sometimes, those unnecessary info reduces the weightage or over shadow the relevant information. It may irritate the person who is evaluating the resume and make him throw out your resume. For example; no need to highlight your cooking experience if you are applying for software engineer job position.

Mistake 14: Unprofessional email ID

Being a professional, employer expects a level of maturity from you on all the aspects including your email id. If your email id looks childish, an employer might get a feeling that you are still not serious about the job. Therefore, before applying to the jobs as a fresher, generate your resume with professional email ID. For example,

  • Unprofessional Email ID:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Professional Email ID: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mistake 15: Highlighting phone number with phone word and email ID with email word

It is not necessary to write a phone word with the phone number to tell the employer that this is my phone number, if you simply place your phone number too, it is well understood for the hiring manager to know that, this is your phone number. Similarly, don’t use the same phenomenon to present your email ID. For example,

  • Phone: +91 9876567899 (Not Necessary)
  • +91 9876567899 (Quite enough to understand that this is your phone number)

Mistake 16: Your photograph

Unless you are applying for jobs abroad, it's not necessary to insert your photograph in your resume because unnecessarily it captures your resume space which you can utilize for organizing and highlighting your job relevant skills and experience effectively.

Mistake 17: Social-Media URLs

Many candidates unnecessarily fill the resume spaces by placing their social networking profile’s URLs such as, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, or Instagram, which don’t show any relevancy to the job they are interested in, and showcase their casual approach towards the job interviews.

In place of all above casual social networking profile’s URLs, you can place the job relevant social networking profile’s URLs, such as, LinkedIn and any other professional profile URLs.

Mistake 18: Salary information

To hire you for the job, the company will be interested to know - how much you are interested in the company and what best you can give to the company growth and development, not the salary you were getting at your previous jobs or knowing your salary expectation. Once the employer gets satisfied and chosen you for the job, at the last, he may speak about your previous company salary or your salary expectation.

Mistake 19: Short-term employment detail

If you have good years of job relevant work experience of two - three companies, and a few months of experience working as a part-time worker, avoid including short term employment detail on your resume, because, it will capture the extra space of your resume and the employer may not be interested in seeing your non-relevant experience if you already have relevant experience.

Mistake 20: Fraud content

As you know, there is no replacement of experience, so, be careful while giving fake experience in your resume. You might be caught by the employer - while screening out the resumes, or during the interview, or after a month/week of the employment.

There is a very big punishment when your fake resume comes under the employer consideration - you may get fired from the interview panel/job which can make you embarrassed, or spoil your career. So, avoid making a fake resume.

Mistake 21: Unsupportive resume format

Many are good at writing their resume, but poor at analyzing, which format to choose for resume building that every operating system supports. The best solution to the problem is to make your resume or convert it in a PDF format. If your resume is in PDF format, whichever operating system/ platform you choose to open the same file, your resume will display in the same format as how you have created.

Mistake 22: Overuse of the same word

While writing a resume, people repetitively use the same word again and again, this makes your resume unappealing and irritating. Your resume should be creative, attractive, and straight to the point. So, make sure that the words and phrases is not repeated again and again in your resume.

Best Practices

Once you complete your resume, proofread it to make sure that you have not left anything important that are relevant to the job you are seeking for, you have not highlighted any unwanted detail that may become a problem for getting job interviews.

It will be good to send your resume to your friends for review and feedback. It's always good to take a second opinion, even if you are satisfied with resume contents.

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