The 8 Biggest Resume Mistakes

Make sure you don’t make these mistakes on your resume.

1. No Accomplishments

The biggest mistake job seekers make is to omit their accomplishments. If you don’t show how you have been successful, hiring managers may assume you haven’t been successful. When you are considered for a position, you will be competing against others with similar experience. If you only list your responsibilities and another candidate with the same experience as you lists their accomplishments, they are more likely to get an interview.

2. No Customization

Resumes should be customized to the position and company. This is a small step that can pay big dividends. Often, changing just a few small details is all that is needed. Research the requirements and priorities of a position, then emphasize your strengths in meeting those requirements.

3. Large Blocks of Text

A resume should be easy to read quickly. Large blocks of text can make a resume difficult to read. The worst offenders contain just one of two paragraphs that are each a page or more long. Break up text into smaller blocks that are easy to scan and read.

4. Poor Formatting

The formatting on a resume gives signposts to what is the most important and draws the reader’s attention to these elements. Poor formatting can draw the reader to less important information.  To make the best impression, you want to lead with your strengths and have the hiring manager drawn to the most marketable skills and accomplishments in your background.

5. Too Long

The vast majority of resumes should be one to two pages. Resumes that are five, ten or more pages will make a poor impression and won’t get read. The worst examples are written by copying and pasting the job descriptions for every job the individual held.  Focus on your skills and accomplishments, highlighting the most significant elements from your background.  The most impressive information should be on the first page, with additional important details on the 2nd.

6. Unclear Objective

Many resumes fail to make it clear what type of job the job seeker is pursuing. This is especially problematic with job seekers that have changed careers several times. If you are making a general application to a company, a clear, specific objective on your resume or in a cover letter will help.  If you are responding to a specific job posting, an objective statement is less important.

7. Grammar/Spelling Errors

In our research, we have found that approximately 5% of resumes have spelling and grammatical errors. These can make a very poor impression. Make sure you have someone proofread your resume.

8. Extraneous Information

Adding information unrelated to your career won’t help your resume and may hurt your chances. Avoid personal information like hobbies.  There should be more important details in your background that demonstrate your skills and abilities.  Do not sacrifice this information for personal details that are unrelated to the job.

All of these mistakes can hurt your chances of getting an interview and ultimately hired.  If you are in a competitive field with a lot of job seekers going after the same positions, it is important to maximize your chances.  None of these mistakes, individually, will keep you from getting interviews every time.  What they can do is reduce your odds of landing interviews and lengthen your job search.  A little work to avoid these mistakes can give you an edge and help you get hired faster.