The Top 5 Resume Mistakes To Watch Out For

By Matthew Cenzon. May 7th 2016

Often times, setting your personal finance goals for the year entails looking for a new job or a career change. Whether you are recently unemployed or just looking to shift towards a better career, one of the first things you need to tackle during your job hunt is that outdated resume. Before you start typing and emailing your new resumes to prospective employers, scan your resume for these common resume mistakes.

1. Work Experience Unrelated To The Job

Resume Examples: Listing a part-time sales gig at a pet store when applying for an IT management position, or listing volunteer work at a homeless shelter for a business analyst job.

Sure, anyone can argue the validity of previous work experience for just about any job. In the example above, one could say the pet store job required the use of the store’s computer; therefore, it directly ties into the IT position being applied for. But that’s also a bit of stretch that some employers may not appreciate. Another negative aspect of irrelevant work experience is it makes your resume too long. Aim for one page; two pages – tops. The only time you’d really have to go so far to list all work experience you’ve ever had is when you lack any work experience, like if you’re a new grad.

2. Being Vague

Resume Examples: “Responsible for daily office functions,” or “Knowledgeable in multiple office applications.”

What are daily office functions? And saying you are knowledgeable in multiple office applications is the same thing as saying you know how to use a computer. A big resume mistake is being too vague when listing skills or work experience. If you know how to use a program, list the exact program and examples of how well-versed you are in the software, like how many years you’ve been using it or any certifications that relate to the software.

If you were responsible for something, list exactly what that something was. Better yet, turn those job responsibilities into achievements. You don’t want to lie, but at the same time, you don’t want to sound generic. Catch your employer’s eye by listing actual numbers that show your success, specific things you were able to accomplish, and detailed achievements they might appreciate.

3. Lying

Resume Examples: Altering or omitting previous work experience.

Many people assume that lying on a resume refers to creating false credentials, like listing certifications or background education that is entirely made-up. However, there is something else that falls under this category for common resume mistakes and that’s falsifying or altering your previous work history. Many people have different reasons for doing this. Perhaps they were fired from a job, or maybe they don’t have the kind of work experience that their desired employer is looking for. Even if some are able to get away with it, the truth somehow manages to catch up with them, and that can lead to instant termination, or worse, being blacklisted for other jobs within that particular work industry.

4. Typos And Formatting Errors

Resume Examples: Lack of proper punctuation and spelling mistakes, or issues with margins and line spacing.

Typos and formatting errors are an obvious resume blunder for any future job seeker. However, many people would be surprised at the amount of typos employers come across on a regular basis. Don’t just rely on the spelling/grammar check of your writing software. Also, ask some friends or colleagues to go over your resume as well to ensure everything looks clean, organized and error-free. Typos and errors on a resume just make you look sloppy and is one of the quickest ways to get your resume tossed into the garbage pile.

5. Writing A Wordy Resume And Including Too Much Information

Resume Examples: Writing full sentences and paragraphs, or writing your life story.

Understand that most job recruiters are going through hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes each week. You want to be as informative and specific as possible, while giving the recruiter a quick and easy ride through your skills and previous work experience. If you are writing full sentences and lengthy paragraphs in your resume, stop it! A wall of text is not going to help you land an interview. You can save the details for your cover letter. Also, bullet and highlight key information like achievements and awards; that’s usually the type of information the recruiter is scanning each resume for.

If you feel the need to include personal information or experiences that might relate to career goals or the job you’re applying to, also save that for the cover later. The cover letter allows your prospective employer to get to know you before the interview; the resume is the invitation or greeting card that entices them to want you there. Also, leave out the age-old “References upon request,” or “Objectives” section from your resume. Your employer will ask for references when they’re ready to move forward with your hiring process, and your career objectives should be included in your cover letter.

Bottom Line

If you haven’t received any callbacks or return emails after sending numerous resumes to prospective employers, it might be time to go over your resume. Use this list of common resume mistakes and make sure you aren’t making any of these same mistakes on your own resume. A solid resume is one of the keys to achieving your personal and financial goals, so make sure you are putting enough time and effort into it.

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