The 15 Most Deadly Resume Mistakes to Avoid

What resume mistakes should you avoid doing?

One of the most frequent question I receive is about resumes. More specifically, how to write a winning resume and what mistakes to avoid.

So here I have gathered the 15 most common resume mistakes to avoid.

Treating your resume as your life’s story and not as a sales document

A Curriculum Vitae literally means the story of your life. But you are not writing a CV unless you are applying for an academic University position, or something similar.  Your are writing a resume and it is a summary of what you have achieved and an insight into what you can offer. It is your marketing tool, so handle it accordingly.

Leaving spelling and grammatical errors

Errors do not leave good impressions behind, especially in today’s’ world where spellcheckers are built into every software, so use them.

Be different, be the best

A boring resume does not highlight you or differentiate you from others.  If your resume proves to be too boring it will land in the rejection pile where you don’t have a second chance. If it is okay, but there are 100 other “okays” in the tray, why would a recruiter give you one hour of their time?

Overselling yourself

Being the best still does not mean over-praising yourself. Be objective and back up your strengths with evidence.

Listing tasks as opposed to achievements

Every recruiter knows what the tasks of a Sales or HR Manager are. The question is rather what added value you personally created for your previous employers. This could be a good indicator for the recruiter what you could do for them. Make sure you list enough evidence.

Using the same resume for all companies

This will probably lead to not reflecting what the company is looking for. Tailor your resume to every company based on the information you found out about them during your research.

Doesn’t show relevance to the opportunity / company

This will give the recruiter the feeling that you are not talking to them. Be clear with their expectations and reflect them back in your resume.

No clear personal branding

A recruiter wants to have the feeling “this is the one” which they will have in case all information in your resume points into the same direction, strengthening the same message about you. Make sure you are clear with your strengths and benefits of hiring you and communicate all message around these.

Not putting unique selling points in premium place

What is the point in mentioning them in your resume if no one will actually read your resume till the end? The recruiter will have a look first on the top half of the first page, so use this space to highlight your unique selling points.

Including too old or irrelevant experience

Uncertain people like putting any information into their resume thinking “the more the better”. Very untrue; it takes away focus and will create doubts in the reader. Focus, focus, focus!

Giving too much information

You might have tons of relevant experiences and accomplishments to feature in your resume but be aware that it will only discourage the recruiter from reading it. So make a selection and put there only the most relevant points.

Leaving important things to the cover letter

You will be disappointed here, but in reality no one is reading your cover letter, unless your resume awakes sincere interest in the recruiter. Conclusion – everything important must be in the resume.

Resume too long

Busy recruiters don’t have the time for that. Comprising your resume to maximum 2 pages is therefore a must (and by the way it very well demonstrates your prioritization skills as well).

Leaves gaps and question marks

This is a very dangerous trap. Recruiters prefer people whose resume does not raise doubts. Those will be the first ones to get a call. You might get called even if the recruiter has question marks in their head, but be prepared that these will be addressed first in a phone call, before even getting the exposure to showcase your strengths. As a preparation, put yourself into your reader’s shoes and scan through your resume for potential red flags.

Using industry abbreviations or technical words

This can be very annoying for the reader and might lead to stigmatizing you as a person with poor communication skills. Be aware what terms are accepted and widely used in your sector and which are the ones that both HR and line managers will understand.

If your resume fails the 10 second-test

You will have exactly 10 seconds to convince the recruiter to read further and not to land in the rejection pile. Think it over how you can optimize your resume to have a positive impact in the reader in 10 seconds.

About the Author: Career Wellness Coach Erika Kalmar helps you clarify your true career path, find the job you have been longing for and design your career to move towards the goals you set.

Check out this book – The 12 Worst Resume Mistakes & How You Can Fix Them


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