These 6 common resume mistakes are sabotaging you

Is your resume helping you or holding you back? Venture to the past with me real quick. 

Think of a time when you had a great experience meeting someone for the first time. Consider their appearance, charisma, tone, and other redeeming qualities you enjoyed. 

Now, reflect on a time when you had a not-so-good experience with a person. Maybe it was an employee at a cell phone store or a bank. Reflect on the experience for a moment. 

Chances are, they weren’t a bad person; maybe they just had a bad day. But, the damage was done – you couldn’t get past that first interaction where maybe they came across as rude or insensitive. 

Either way, here is my point. Your resume has that very same effect, either positively or negatively, on your prospective employer. 

So to help you make the best overall first appearance – with your resume – today, we will look at the most common mistakes people make that prevent them from getting a new job!

6 Common Mistakes on Your Resume Are Sabotaging You!

1. Incorrect file name & format. 

You don’t want to be the person that submits your resume with a standard Word document saved as “My Resume.” 

The simple act of naming your resume professionally, including your name and the job title you desire “Julie Jones Procurement Agent Resume,” can immediately set you apart from other candidates. Small, minor details matter. 

Going the extra mile, taking 25 seconds to rename your resume, coupled with always saving your resume in PDF format, is key. 

A resume in PDF format looks cleaner, less cluttered, and overall professional. Compared to a Word document, which in some cases, the formatting can break. Always submit PDF versions of your resume! 

2. Poor grammar

Imagine if you wrote, “Your great at technical problem-solving.” Well, the problem with that is it should be “You’re” not “Your.” 

While this might seem somewhat trivial, proper grammar goes a long way on a resume. Employers like to hire people who are attentive to details, communicate effectively verbally and in written format. 

Professional emails and proposals can be a large part of a high paying job, so it’s vital to make sure you convey this in your resume by checking your resume for grammar. 

Download a plugin like Grammarly to check for you, or have a few trusted friends edit your resume with you to catch mistakes you might have overlooked. 

3. A generic resume

It would help if you did not have the same resume for every job you apply to. The more specific your resume is, the better. 

For example, when a teacher wants to become an assistant principal, their resume should focus on their leadership capabilities/accomplishments – not just their prior teaching responsibilities. On the other hand, if they want to remain a teacher but maybe at a new school, they should have a resume that conveys their teaching ability.

Your resume should convey your ability to complete the job you are applying for. This will help you get the upper hand when applying because far too many people have too generic resumes. 

4. Too much clutter

If being generic is one mistake people make on their resumes, too much clutter is another. 

A resume that screams “Too Busy” is not good. In a sense, prospective employers want to see how efficiently you communicate what you’re capable of in a clean and simple format. 

Too many words can be overwhelming to someone who has to read 100 resumes in an hour. Be sure your resume stands out, is simple, and has a clean appearance (remember #1, PDF formatting works best). 

5. You don’t describe accomplishments

When creating a solid resume, the number one priority is to describe your accomplishments and why YOU are the right pick without coming across as braggadocious. 

However, where many job applicants make a common mistake with their resume, they simply list their job descriptions and duties. Duty and accomplishment are different; here is an example:

  • Job Duty: Managed a team of four software engineers
  • Job Accomplishment: Team lead for software engineer division responsible for producing a new accounting program 30 days before the deadline. 

This might not seem like a huge deal, but the job duty above tells a prospective employer what you did; the accomplishment communicates to them how you perform and what you’re capable of doing for them. 

Consider reviewing your resume and making sure you effectively describe your accomplishments within your previous job duties, not just the duty itself. 

6. Inconsistent formatting 

You want your resume to let your prospective employer know that you’re:

  • Organized
  • Exceptional at what you do 
  • Attentive to the small details

A quick way to tell a hiring manager that you’re none of the above (even if you really are) is to have inconsistent formatting all over your resume! 

As a general rule of thumb, titles, descriptions, bullets, and all the traditional stuff on a resume should be consistent. A common mistake for job candidates is to have bullets that are too far right in one section or titles that are sometimes italicized and sometimes not. 

Lastly, if you have three bullet points for one previous job experience, make sure you have three for the next! Consistency is key! 

Final thoughts:

Your resume is your first impression in most cases when it comes to landing a new job, so it’s the best bet to make sure you do everything in your power to make it the right first impression!

Hopefully, these common resume mistakes to avoid help you identify a few areas where your resume could stand for some improvement, ultimately helping you land the job you want! 

Just be sure to keep in mind that a resume is the first step in getting face-to-face with a possible employer for an interview at the end of the day. To further set yourself apart, always email your resume to the person responsible for hiring (when applicable) and be sure to follow up! 

Anything you can do to separate yourself is key!