The 8 Most Common Resume Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Are you struggling to get call-backs from potential employers? Before you slip into job-seeking burnout, let's review some of the most common deal breaker resume mistakes. There's a chance you could be making some! Follow these tips, and increase your chances of landing the role you want.

1.  Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
A regular spell-check in a program like Word won't catch every typo. Keep an eye out for common typos like "they're/their/there" or "close retention to detail." Double-check your contact info as well. Make sure your phone number and email address are correct. Being one digit off, or one letter off, could cost you the interview phone call you're seeking!

2.  Speaking of contact info...
Make sure your contact section is in tip-top shape. Include links to your relevant online presences. Your potential employers are going to research you, so guide them towards your professional best. Make sure all sites you list are free of objectionable content. A potential employer should not set eyes on those college party pics!

3.  Is your experience selling your value?
Learning how to market yourself as a valuable asset without bragging is a tricky professional skill to acquire. According to the experts at Glassdoor, you can accomplish this by focusing on hard-won results rather than on your day-to-day responsibilities. For example, "Increased revenue by 12% by streamlining order inputs and introducing a new program suite to reduce function overlap" is more eye-catching and attention-getting to hiring managers than "Responsible for daily order input and researching alternate programs for my department."

4.  Do your dates line up?
While we're on the topic of your Work Experience section, double-check all of your resume's employment dates (and do the same thing on LinkedIn). A common resume mistake is forgetting to keep a consistent format for each job title and employment period. If you write "June 2015 - February 2017," under one job title, use that same date layout under other roles. If you're worried about employment gaps, this helpful guide walks you through the best way to handle a resume gap.

5.  Your skills pay the bills.
Your specialized skill set is as important as your work history. Yes, your previous employment details what you've accomplished in your professional life, but your skills quickly summarize what you excel in. Spare a small section of your resume (at the top, under your header) for a bulleted list of yours top skills. Be sure to align the wording of your particular skills to the wording of the job ad's required skills--you better your chances of getting your resume past an ATS when you do this.

6.  Don't
It's so easy to slip into this common resume mistake. Most of us embellish our resumes a little, but there is a fine line between lightly exaggerating your proficiency with Microsoft Excel and claiming expertise (when in fact you've never used the software program). Don't be a Joey and claim you're fluent in French if you're not fluent in French. Don't lie on your resume, ever.

7.  Appearance can change everything.
You double- and triple-checked each section. That's great. Now double-check your resume layout. Are the margins too wide? Too narrow? Did you use a super-artsy font throughout? Decisions like this can mean the difference between a call-back and the rejection pile. At the end of the day, your resume must be a neat, easy-to-read professional document. You can reduce resume aesthetics worries by relying on professionally designed resume templates, or by putting a resume builder to work.

8.  Personalize your resume.
You've spent a lot of time reviewing and perfecting your resume. Sending the same resume out to every job posting is tempting. But guess what--you should never, ever do this. Every role is unique, and your resume must be customized to each and every job you apply for.

Final Checklist

  • Remember to check off the following before you send out your resume.
  • Spell-check, then spell-check again
  • Double-check the accuracy of your contact info
  • Make sure your social media profiles are scrubbed of questionable content
  • Focus your work experience on quantifiable results over daily responsibilities
  • Use consistent dates styling throughout your Work Experience section
  • Include a tailored skills section
  • Remove anything that greatly stretches the truth about your abilities
  • Review the overall appearance of your resume
  • Make sure your resume is customized to the specifications of a job ad

My Perfect Resume offers resume samples to work from, plus top-to-bottom guidance on how to write a resume (among many other things). Stop by today, and get your career search on the fast track!