6 Common Mistakes Made on a Resume

Man editing a resume

1. Misspellings

The number one thing to watch out for on a resume is misspellings! Recruiters get dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes in response to a job listing. They’re looking for reasons to disqualify candidates – don’t let a simple spelling mistake ruin your chances of getting an interview.

One area where spelling mistakes really stand out on a resume are job titles. Homophones (words that sound or look the same, but have different meanings) are often the culprit here. These words don’t appear to be misspelled, and Word’s spell-check won’t catch them because they’re technically not spelled wrong.

Watch out for these homophones: ROLE vs. ROLL, MANAGER vs. MANGER, CUSTOMER vs. COSTUMER

2. No Descriptions

It can be a pain to re-enter your resume content into the templates on different job boards. If you’ve been job hunting for any length of time, you’ve probably manually entered your entire resume into at least a few applications. It can be tempting to skip a few steps and simply upload your job title, company, and years worked, but by doing this, you’re actually hurting your chances of landing an interview.

You know exactly what your responsibilities were at each of your jobs, and you also know that you’d be the perfect fit for the job you’re applying for – but the recruiter has to be convinced. If you include a few descriptions of your responsibilities and achievements in each position, you help the person reading your resume get a better idea of your experience. Make it as clear as possible that you have the skills they’re looking for.

3. Word Overload

You find the perfect job – you know you have the exact skills and experience the company’s looking for. It’s tempting to try and show that you’re the right candidate by applying with a two or three-page resume that details ALL of your relevant work but don’t.

A resume is a preview, like a trailer for a movie. You want to show the recruiter that you tick all of their boxes – you have the experience, skills, and education. Put the important information on your resume, and detail your specific experience during the interview.

4. Length

Ideally, your resume should be one page. If you’re having trouble fitting everything on a single sheet of paper, try using columns. Many resume formats have columns, helping you fit more in the same amount of space.

Save the details for an interview! If your resume is a big block of text, a recruiter may not take the time to read it all. By outlining your key points (experience, skills, education, achievements) you increase your chances of being invited for an interview.

5. Random Jobs

By now you know to avoid text-heavy resumes, and to keep things brief by sticking to a single page. But what do you do when you simply have so much experience that it spills over onto two, or even three pages? Take out your red pen and start removing jobs that don’t directly relate to the position you’re applying for. Remove jobs that aren’t relevant or only include positions from the last 10 years.

If you’re worried that it will look like you have gaps in your work history, include a short note in a cover letter or in your “objective” section that explains that you’ve tailored your resume to include positions that align with the job you’re applying for, but that you’d be happy to provide a more complete summary of your work history in an interview.

6. Location

Moving but not having any luck finding a new job? Some recruiters will pass up your resume, even if it matches what they’re looking for, if your location isn’t in their surrounding area. You can avoid this by changing your location to the city you’re planning to move to. Nowadays, you don’t need to include your full address on your resume – a city and state is fine.

If you’ve tried that but still aren’t getting calls, include a sentence in your “objective” that lets recruiters know when you’ll be moving to the area.


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Table for an interview