Avoiding The Most Common Resume Problems

Resume WritingResumes

Avoiding The Most Common Resume Problems
A resume is your first opportunity to sell yourself to future employers. Use this opportunity to make a good impression. Unfortunately, many people make common and simple to fix mistakes that keep them from making that good impression. Here are some common errors to look for before you send your resume to an employer.

  • Avoid spelling errors, typos, and poor grammar. This is simple, yet it will make you look unprofessional and incompetent.
  • A common error in resume writing is changing from first to third person midway through your resume. Stay consistent throughout your resume writing.
  • Another common resume problem that you should avoid is creating a resume that reads like a job description. Keep the focus on your skills, accomplishments and how your accomplishments were achieved.
  • Avoid creating a resume that is too long. Put yourself in the position of the person reading your resume. Most future employers will be reading a multitude of resumes at one time. One way to avoid a too long resume is to avoid providing personal information that isn’t relevant to the job. If your resume is too long, they are sure to not go through the entire resume.
  • A common mistake in resumes that is often overlooked is making sure you  provide accurate information. Employers will not be impressed if you didn’t take the initiative to provide them with accurate information. Gather up accurate dates, names, phone numbers.
  • Avoid the common mistake of giving partial information because you don’t remember, recall, or haven’t updated your resume.
  • Lastly, an important and common error you should avoid in writing a resume is keeping it simple. Provide simple yet powerful information. Enough information, but not too much. And, as always, simple and accurate.

What A Resume Is NOT
So often, when researching how to put together a resume, the posts and articles are a lot of “a resume is this,” and “a resume should have this,” but often, there is no information about what is dangerous or unnecessary in a resume. That is what this post is for–to help you understand what a resume is not so you can create the best and most impressive resume.
A resume is not:

  • A letter: It is not a place to talk or chat about yourself and your accomplishments. You can do that a little bit in your cover letter, but mostly that type of communication will be for your interview.
  • A soapbox: Blatantly bragging or putting false commentary into your resume in order to make your skills sound better than they are isn’t advisable. While it’s good to sell yourself and your skills, sell them on skills you’ve actually done, not what you”think you can” do.
  • A comedy club: You don’t need to add humor or personality to your resume. Employers are not looking for that type of thing in a resume. They want simple facts with enough information for them to decide if they want you to come in for an interview. Add some personality to your social media profiles. Talk about your interests and likes in that type of forum, but a resume is not the best place for them.
  • A grocery list: While, yes, you will list your skills, work experiences, and accomplishments, there is more to it than that. You can’t simply list every job without a few details like dates of employment, job title, employer, and some job duties. You don’t need a lot of detail, but you need enough so your potential employers have an idea of what you have done.

These are things to watch out for. Your resume may seem like it doesn’t have your voice or personality, but that is OK. It doesn’t need all that fluff. Save that for your cover letter and, more importantly, your interview.

What you need to remember is that when you come to apply for a job application your resume is their first impression of you. You might be the best person for the job but if your resume doesn’t showcase this in the right way, then you will seriously dent your chances of being successful.
One of the main things that you need to avoid is spelling mistakes and grammatical errors throughout your resume. You need to check and double check your resume to make sure that everything in it is correct. You will often find that even the simplest of mistakes will rule you out of the running for a job. Remember that it is likely a number of people will be applying for the same job so the person in charge of applications will be looking for reasons to take people out of the running – you want to make sure you don’t give them one!
Also make sure that your resume is precise when it comes to job experience and skills. You don’t want to be too general. You need to give them a reason to hire you so selling yourself is a must when it comes to your resume. Include information of previous jobs and the skills that these positions have taught you.
It can be tricky but try not to make your resume too general, or ‘one size fits all.’ If you are applying for different jobs, then you may need to tweak each version of your resume slightly to sell yourself for each of the different job types that you are trying. That way you can be sure that when you are applying for different job positions you know that your resume is as relevant as possible and gives you the best chance of success.
The presentation of your resume is also important. Along with it reading well and including the right information, you need to make sure that it is pleasing on the eye. Remember that they will be reading many different resumes so you need to make sure that yours stands out for all the right reasons. Keeping your resume clean and tidy, you want it to include all of the information that is needed without it being too cluttered and busy. Add a little color or  a graph of your recent sales numbers, etc. You need to give them a reason to read your resume and by making it look like hard work to read you are ruining your chances before you even start.

What Your Resume Says About You

Resume Writing

Everyone knows that in order to apply for a job vacancy they have to submit a resume as well as a cover letter. We often spend hours going over our resume and ensuring that it is perfect, however, we don’t really give consideration to what it really says about us.
What you need to remember is that the people reading resumes often have a number of them to read – after all job vacancies are rare so more people than ever are applying for them. You need to make sure that your resume stands out from the crowd and tells them exactly why they should hire you.
This means looking a little deeper into the details of your resume and paying attention to what it really says about you. For example, is your email address hotchick @me.com or vodkadrinker @email.com. This doesn’t give off the right impression and even if it is ‘just’ an email address it isn’t saying the right things about you and your application! Setting up a free email address is easy so why not just take a few minutes to set up firstname.lastname @email.com as this will look far more professional on your resume/job application.
Your potential new employer also needs to know that you are serious about the job and easy to contact. Include as many different contact details on your resume/cover letter as possible. This way they know that you are easy to get hold of and this shows you are serious about getting the job!
These might seem like small details, but your resume needs to let them know you are serious about getting the job and that you are going to be a welcomed, professional addition to their workforce!

The whole point of having a resume is to showcase your talents and experience with the aim of helping you to achieve the job of your dreams. When you have a decent resume, it should help you to secure job interviews as well as ensure that when you do get an opportunity to interview, you have a strong chance of being offered the job.
Many people think that just having a generic resume is enough. They assume that if their resume looks decent, then their chances of getting a job is high. What many job seekers don’t realize is that their resume could be holding them back and actually be the reason they are not getting called for job interivews.
If you are unemployed, or actively searching for a new career, take the time to look at your resume and identify areas where you can make improvements. A common mistake is to assume that your resume will work well as a one-size-fits-all option. However, there is little highlighting your office skills on a resume if you are applying to be a Structural Engineer. You need to ensure that your resume is written for the type of position your’re seeking, and effectively communicates the value and expertise you can offer in the position you’re applying for.
Remember –  your resume is an employer’s first impression of you and what you offer as a potential employee. Everything you communicate your resume will help them evaluate you and your qualifications. Many hiring managers only take a few seconds to glance over a resume – you must ensure your resume grabs their attention during those few seconds.
In today’s competitive job market, a resume must effectively and efficiently sell a job candidate’s value to employers. Don’t let a poorly written resume hold YOU back from opening the door to a new career!

**I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches.  Each month, all members discuss a certain topic.  This month, we are talking about “scary” career or resume mistakes. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective.  You can also view the other member’s interesting posts at the end of the article.


Executive or senior level positions are a different animal when compared to others. More than a simple experience, those applying for senior or executive positions have to be better, faster and more creative than the competition. Even the smallest of errors can quickly become roadblocks to future success. Understanding how to avoid scary resume mistakes is critical for those that hope to land a plum position.

Luckily, the scariest of these mistakes are also the easiest to avoid…if you simply know what you are looking for.

  1. Grammar: Sounds simple, but grammar and spelling errors can be the worst resume mistake. Poorly written resumes do not advertise the applicant as a qualified individual; instead, they advertise you as lazy, unobservant and possibly illiterate. This mistake is the easiest of all to avoid. Do not rely on spell check alone; instead ask a qualified friend or professional to review the resume for you as well.
  2. Poorly written objectives/career summaries: The career summary portion of a resume is often easy to overlook. Job seekers erroneously assume that those reading the resumes often ignore the section. Instead, the summary is your first and best chance to not only state your objective, but to add a sense of whom you are. Avoiding a poorly written career summary starts with putting in the appropriate amount of time writing it. Remain clear and focused on what you want to do, what you excel at, and what you can do for the reader. It is also a good idea to personalize summaries for specific jobs or positions.
  3. Hiding crucial information: Functional resumes sometimes seem like they are hiding information about the job seeker’s accomplishments and skill sets by ignoring the standard chronological format. If functional is still your choice, consider creating a hybrid functional/chronological resume that will please all types of readers.
  4. Being too general: Creating a generalized resume to use for every new opportunity is a mistake. Today, a general resume isn’t enough. Instead, develop a well written, grammatically correct base resume and personalize it for each new position. Carefully tweaking skills, highlighting different accomplishments and other critical areas more maximum impact is the best way to optimize your exposure to specific potential employers.
  5. Honest and Accuracy: “Everyone embellishes their resumes a little bit – right?”  While that may be true for some people, inaccurate statements or outright wrong information is a mistake and not smart to do. Today’s employers are choosing from a pool of potential employees that is bigger than ever. Be sure that the information contained in your resume is accurate. Be honest and forthright in your answers. Honesty does matter. Don’t be one of the fools who use embellishment to make their resume stand out—and then get caught later.

Creating resumes that make an impact doesn’t have to be difficult. Spending adequate time, making use of a proofreader, being honest and carefully choosing your format and the information you present is the best way to avoid scary resume or career mistakes.



Read below for more resume and career advice from the Career Collective!


Where Are the Wild Things, Anyway?, @WorkWithIllness

Is Your Job Search Making You Feel Like a Smashed Pumpkin?, @DebraWheatman

Hiding in Plain Sight, @WalterAkana,

Don’t make these frightful resume mistakes, @LaurieBerenson

How Not to Be a Spooky Job Seeker, @heathermundell

A Tombstone Resume:Eulogizing Your Experience, @GayleHoward

The Top Ten Scary Things Job Seekers Do, @barbarasafani

Oh, Job Search Isn’t Like Trick or Treating?, @careersherpa

A Most Unfortunate Resume Mistake No One Will Tell You, @chandlee

Oh no. Not the phone!, @DawnBugni

Halloween Caution: Job Seeker Horror, @resumeservice

Boo! Are you scaring away opportunities or the competition? @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

Your Career Brand: A Scary Trick or an Appealing Treat?, @KCCareerCoach

How to avoid mistakes on your resume, @Keppie_Careers

Sc-sc-scary Resume Mistakes, @erinkennedycprw

A Flawed Resume is a Scary Prospect, @KatCareerGal

Job Search Angst: Like Clouds Mounting Before a Storm, @ValueIntoWords

Does Your Career Costume Fit You?, @expatcoachmegan

10 critical mistakes to avoid when writing your resume

Professional ResumesResume Writing

thank-you letter
After talking with so many people, I know many of you work and work to create the perfect resume, only to look it over when you are finished and realize your resume doesn’t say, or reflect, just what you want it to. And often times, that keeps you from being called for interviews.
I’ve included a list of “deal breakers” that might hinder your chances for an interview:
1. Mizspelld Words or Bad Grammar
While spell-check is good, it doesn’t catch everything – there could be a word that’s spelled right, but not the right word for the context of the sentence. Keep that spell-check in action but don’t rely on it exclusively. Misspellings can be the death of your application, no matter how qualified you might be. Think of how embarrassing it would be if you have been a mechanical engineer for 30 years and spell it ‘michanical’ engineer on your resume. Lots of times we accidentally misspell words that are actually words themselves i.e. “manger” instead of “manager”.
There can be other consequences, as well–misspelled words could interfere with resumes being found in the key word search of a resume database. So, proofread your resume yourself – it’s important.
*Be sure to keep tenses consistent and check for the correct word usage (such as “counsel” versus “council”).
2. Using a Vague Job Focus
Be clear on the type of position you want to target – your resume should be geared toward that. If you just say “Medical Field” or “Manufacturing,” the reader does not know what type of position you want, so your resume will probably not be considered. Make sure you are specific as to the type of job you want, such as “Accounting Professional”, “Senior Management Executive”, or “Educator.”
3.  Not Including your Personal Brand, or your Value
In today’s challenging job market, showing your uniqueness – your personal brand; and letting potential employers see the value you bring to a new position is essential. Your resume must reflect why an employer should pick up the phone and call you for an interview over the hundreds of other resumes sitting on their desk. You ultimately get hired for the value you contribute to a company, so make sure it shows on your resume.
4. Including your References on the Resume
YOU NO LONGER NEED TO ADD REFERENCES UPON REQUEST on your résumé. It is a given that you will bring a list of references to the interview. Only provide references when they are asked for. Never include them on your resume. It’s understood that if a company wants your references, you’ll provide them.

5. Adding Pictures to your Resume
This might sound like a good idea if you are good looking, but it can also work against you. Unless you are applying for a job as a model or actor, pictures on your résumé is not a good idea.
6. Making Reference to Political or Religious Organizations
A GIANT NO-NO!! Don’t scare off prospective employers by referring to your political or religious opinions or affiliations that do not directly relate to your ability to do the job. An employer might not agree with your politics or might feel that the workplace is nowhere to display attitudes that might alienate others.
7. Including your Salary Demands
This should not be put on the resume – it’s only used to screen a candidate out of the running or influence the employer to offer less money. Salary should not be discussed until you have had the opportunity to explain your value – in person or over the phone
8. Creating a Resume that’s Too Long
People do not have the time to go over resumes that state everything you ever did in your career. Edit your profile down to the most relevant experience for the job at hand. Employers often gauge whether an applicant can deliver information about themselves in a quick, clear and concise manner to sell themselves.
Your resume must be long enough to show your value, but not too long, or the reader will lose interest.
9. Using Incompatible File Types and Formats
Electronic resumes should be created in the most readable file for most [Internet-recruiting] systems, which is plain text or Microsoft Word.
Today’s resume needs to be readable by machines, which means text needs to have a font size between 10 – 12 and a simple font style, such as Arial, Verdana, Helvetica or Microsoft SansSerif.
10. Stick to the Truth
We’ve seen what happen with CEO’s who embellish on their résumés. If you lie on your resume, you will have to defend yourself and your résumé in an interview. Employers also do background and even credit checks, and inaccurate info could come back to haunt you.
Plus a few more…!

11. Don’t Put your Reasons for Leaving on the Résumé

Save this for the interview. It doesn’t need to be on the résumé.

12. DO NOT Make Changes to the Résumé in Pencil or Pen
Add it to the document on your computer, not jotting it down or crossing something else out. This is never acceptable on a résumé.

13. NEVER send a résumé without a cover letter!
You must always have a cover letter. It states your intention to the reader. It’s expected and is important in job search etiquette. This is a powerful tool that can give you the competitive edge.