Five Most Common Resume Mistakes

An error in your resume can be the difference between you being considered for the position and actually getting the job.

When the competition is tight, even the slightest, most insignificant error can be the deciding factor on who will be hired and who will not. When managers need to select only one new employee from a pile of hundreds of resumes, they can get quite finicky about any type of error.

While there are literally dozens upon dozens of errors people make when writing and presenting resumes, there are a few that top the list of the most common resume errors. Let’s call these the top five most common, most fatal (to your success, not to your life) resume errors.

They are:

  1. Including irrelevant information
  2. Sloppy presentation
  3. Vague or boring content
  4. Lack of focus
  5. Large chunks of text
  1. Including Irrelevant Information

When you write your resume you need to remember that hiring managers are extremely busy people. Which is the main reason why they need more staff. After all, they wouldn’t be looking for more people to help them if they already had too much free time.

Keeping in mind that hiring managers are busy people, you should be careful what you include in your resume. Only include what’s directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. It’s highly unlikely that your prospective employer is really going to care about the spelling bee award you won in grade eight, or that you were the best grade eleven cheerleader.

By sticking to information relevant to the job you would like, you show the hiring manager that you are an excellent communicator.

  1. Sloppy Presentation

First impressions count. You wouldn’t go to an in-person interview with uncombed hair and torn jeans. So make sure your resume is grammatically correct, clean and crease-free.

Don’t get careless. A resume that is poorly presented gives the hiring manager the impression that you’re lazy (or perhaps a little stupid), careless and not serious about the position you’re applying for.

Sometimes it helps to read your resume out loud. It’s easier to find mistakes this way. Or you can corner your friends and get them to give you some brutally honest feedback.

  1. Vague or Boring Content

Be specific when you write your resume. Use action verbs (like organized) to prove to the hiring manager that you’re a go-getter. Avoid straightforward and boring descriptions of every job you’ve ever held. Explain why you were good at your jobs instead, but only focus on those relevant to the type of position you’re going after. Make your resume vibrant.

  1. Lack of Focus

Tailor your resume to the job you would like. Focus on results and accomplishments instead of simply listing your responsibilities. How did you make a difference in your company or department?

  1. Large Chunks of Text

The average resume is read in a speedy seven seconds. Huge chunks of text are intimidating to a hiring manager who needs to look at hundreds of resumes, and probably isn’t too excited about doing so. Keep your paragraphs short and reader friendly.

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