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The Worst Resume Blunders

The resume is one of the most important parts of your job search. It’s the way you communicate to potential employers that you’re the right person for their open position and a great fit for the company culture. The stronger your resume and cover letter, the better chance you have of getting noticed by employers looking for new talent. We will explore in this article the worst resume blunders.

Your contact information is missing. 

You should always include your current contact information on your resume. This includes a phone number and email address. If you don’t have either of these, it could be very hard to find you later on in the process if you need help with something related to your work history or experience.

Spelling mistakes.

Spelling mistakes are one of the most common mistakes on resumes. It’s important to take care when you’re spelling words, and make sure that your resume reflects a level of professionalism that would impress an employer.

  • Spell check: Check spellings as you type them in, as well as when you’re reviewing what has been typed so far.

Grammar mistakes.

Whether you write in English or any other language, make sure that your resume is free from any errors. These include:

  • Grammar mistakes (like missing a comma)
  • Spelling mistakes (such as “it’s” instead of “its”)
  • Punctuation mistakes (like leaving out commas altogether)

Confusing format.

The formatting of your resume should be simple and easy to read. It should be consistent throughout the document, with no inconsistencies in font size or color. Formatting should be visually appealing and be easy to follow and understand, as well as easy for recruiters who are scanning resumes quickly during interviews.

List of items for responsibilities and no accomplishments.

The resume only includes a basic list of items for the job duties without any explanation. Additionally, the resume does not show any experience – based or quantifiable accomplishments. As an example –

List of duties – 

  • Human resources
  • Benefits
  • HRIS
  • Performance management
  • Employee engagement

Instead the resume should be more detailed – 

  • Developed HR processes, strategies and solutions for multiple offices in the US and Canada.
  • Conceived and implemented a competitive cost-effective benefit strategy that is designed, priced and designed to support the company’s projected growth.
  • Partner directly with senior leadership to identify a long-term workforce management plan to support transformational growth. 
  • Introduced performance management plan to standardize employee development and communication across all locations.
  • Implemented Employee Engagement Survey to enhance the work environment and ensure employee engagement and retention.
  • Researched and managed the transition to a new Human Resources Information System (HRIS) saving the company $125,000 per year.

Not including a Summary section.

A Summary section is a great place to highlight your strengths and experience, which can help you stand out from other candidates. It’s also a chance to explain why you’re competitive for a specific position, so employers get an idea of how well-rounded you are. As an example – 

Dynamic Human Resource professional with extensive experience in employee relations, payroll, benefits, compensation, talent acquisition, retention, and training in fast-paced high growth environments. An experienced decision maker with sound judgment. Proven track record of building productive relationships with C-Level Executives. Demonstrated ability to collaborate with others and forge strategic alliances to achieve ambitious goals. Excellent communication skills, including conflict resolution, negotiating and strategically aligning HR policies and programs to accomplish company goals and objectives. Transformational leader and change agent with an engaging presentation style and teambuilding skills. 

Too long – more than 2 pages max for standard resume.

You should be sure to keep your resume as short as possible. Too many pages can be a huge turn off, especially if you are applying for a position that requires a lot of experience or education. You don’t want to come across as too inexperienced or uneducated on your resume, so keep it simple and sweet!

Graphic designs on the resume.

The resume should use a simple font. A good resume is not supposed to be artsy or decorative, but it should be easy to read and understand. A basic font will do the trick in most cases, so stick with this format when you’re designing your resume. Keep it clear and simple. 

Resume looks like a PowerPoint presentation.

A resume should be easy to read, understand and navigate. It’s not about making your resume look like a PowerPoint presentation; it’s about making it easy for the employer to glance at the information on your page without feeling overwhelmed or confused.

Generic resume.

One of the common mistakes we see constantly is clients using a generic resume to apply for different positions. That is not a very effective way to apply for positions and we do not recommend it. They are usually not impactful or effective with an applicant tracking system (ATS) nor attract interest from most recruiters. Using a generic resume to apply to all positions (unless they have similar qualifications) will downgrade the relevancy and doesn’t work well with ATS. Each position has different keywords that it searches for.

As an example, that an Office Manager position will have a different and specific keyword from Project Manager position. If you use the same resume to apply for both, your chances will be greatly decreased.

While we recommend using a job target that would require minimal changes for other positions that are similar and that you meet the qualifications for, nonetheless we can craft either a generic or targeted resume. 

Including a photo of yourself on the resume.

We do not recommend including a photo on the resume since this can screen you out based on the personal bias of the reader. Adding a photo to the resume makes the document more difficult to read by an applicant tracking system (ATS). 

Too dense to read.

Your resume should be easy to read. It should be easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to understand what you’ve done, and it should also be easy for them to tell whether or not this information would fit into their team’s requirements. If your resume is too dense, it can take longer than necessary and you can easily be screened out by not being able to concisely show your experience and qualifications versus another applicant that has a more polished resume. 

If you would like more help with your resume, check out our Resume Writing Package, Resume Bundles, or contact us today for a customized quote. 

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