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7 Common Resume Mistakes

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7 Common Resume Mistakes ume Writing

When you consider how many applications a hiring manager receives for every advertisement they post, you’ll realize how little time they actually have to glance over each resume. According to statistics, just six seconds is spent deciding who goes into the no pile and who doesn’t, with resume mistakes being the easiest way to get yourself excluded.

Here are some of the most common mistakes made in resumes, and how you can go about fixing them. With a well-crafted resume, you can be sure your experience will be noticed and not the gaudy font or obvious spelling errors that you used throughout this important document.


Spelling And Grammar Mistakes

This is the number one mistake made by bad resume writers, and the easiest one to remedy. When you have a spelling or grammatical error in your resume you’re instantly showing yourself to be lazy, unintelligent, and unthoughtful.

Spelling Mistakes In Documents

Running over your resume with a spell checker takes under a minute usually and if you can’t be bothered with that step then what type of things will you shortcut as an employee?

Not only is it important to run the spell check function over it, but you should have someone else take a look at it for a second opinion. We can often miss mistakes if we’ve been looking at them constantly, and they might have some fresh ideas on how you can improve your resume.



The point of a resume is to go into detail about your previous experience and the skills you’ve learned, so vagueness will get you nowhere. This is where you should be boasting about awards you’ve received, sales targets you’ve met, and anything else with interesting and relevant data you can provide.

General statements such as “hit sales targets” is boring, and doesn’t deserve a second look. Go a little deeper into the detail and put your best assets on show. Not only will it make you look good but it will help you stand out from the rest who only bothered with blanket statements.


Bulk Mailed Resume

A hiring manager can tell in an instant if you’re sending out a standard bulk resume to every job you come across, and it’s a turn off for them. Every position you apply for requires you to take a look at your resume again and make small edits to help it suit that role specifically.



Too Much Text

When crafting your resume, consider the six-second rule and look at it objectively to see if there’s too much text to digest in an instant.

This is where you should use short sentences, avoid paragraphs where possible, and let bullet points be your friend. You want succinct but thoughtful phrases and points that can be easily picked up by the reader without boring anyone too much in the detail.


Unprofessional Email Account

What’s the one way you can ensure your resume doesn’t even get opened, let alone looked over and then rejected? Sending job applications or applying through online job portals with a resume that’s anything less than professional is an instant disqualifier for most employers.

While it might have been funny in high school to have “beerlover69” somewhere in your username, it’s grounds for rejection in the world of career hunting.

If you don’t want to give up your personal email address, it’s best to create a new account solely for business reasons including your resume. The best approach is to use your first and last name, and nothing else, to keep it simple and professional.


Wrong Fonts And Formatting

Sure, the content of your resume might be amazing, but nobody is going to be able to read it if you’ve used some squiggly cursive font and made the headings all bright orange. The font of your resume is just as important as what’s written there, so opt for something simple such as Arial or Times New Roman and you won’t have a problem.

Don't use Comic Sans

Always follow a referencing guide to see the best formatting styles as well, or rely on a standard resume template that comes with your word processor. The easier the document is to read and glance over quickly, the more appealing it will be to the potential employer.


Personal Information

While you might feel it necessary to state that the last three companies you worked for went under and all staff were made redundant, it’s not going to do you any favors.

During the interview, you can explain breaks in employment, and it’s likely that your new employer will question them anyway, so leave your resume up to the facts and figures only and you won’t have an issue.

This is not the time nor place for personal and sensitive information, so avoid things such as your manager’s name, reference details, and where you send your children to school.


Keep It Simple

The true key to a good resume is to keep it simple without losing too much of the detail. Avoid fancy fonts, elaborate images and pictures, and rambling job descriptions that will get your bad resume tossed in the rejection heap.


As your resume is the first impression you have to make on a potential employer, you should spend hours crafting this document so that it’s an accurate reflection of your skills and experience.

Hiring managers and recruitment divisions see hundreds and sometimes thousands of resumes for each position they advertise, so you can’t afford to make any of these bad resume mistakes.

When in doubt, have a friend or trusted colleague give it the once over to see anything you might have missed, and they’ll be able to tell you honestly how it looks from someone else’s view.

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Matthew Gibbs

Matthew Gibbs

Matt is the Co-Founder of Recruiterly and a veteran recruitment professional. He has worked for, managed and owned recruitment agencies in the UK, Australia and Asia.

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