11 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Resume

So you’re back from vacation, ready for an exciting career change? Getting your resume ready is an important step on your way to landing a dream job. The main goal of your CV is to give a short overview of your skills and background, presenting this information in the most convenient way. A good resume is honest, well-structured, concise, and easy to peruse. 

Writing a decent CV isn't as difficult as it may seem, but there are still many things that can go wrong. Let’s see which common resume mistakes can cost you a job interview.

Resume mistake 1: Grammar mistakes and typos

How to ruin a recruiter's first impression and discourage them from inviting you to an interview? Just claim yourself “a perfectionist, attentive to details” while making several typos and careless grammar mistakes along the way. 

Always reread your CV before sending, take advantage of services like Grammarly, or even give your resume to someone else to proofread. It’s also important to make sure you spell the names of the companies and projects you worked with correctly. 

Resume mistake 2: Lack of structure

A big messy wall of text is not what people expect to see in your CV. If it’s hard for a reader to quickly evaluate your job experience and education or even understand what position it is you’re applying for, your resume is likely to go straight into the trash bin. On the other hand, a well-structured CV makes a recruiter's life easier and proves that you can organize information and highlight the key points.

If you’re in doubt about how to structure your CV, feel free to check our job resume template for inspiration.

At the top of the page, write your name and contact information as well as position you’re applying for. Next, include your education and previous jobs in reverse chronological order. List a company’s name, your role, the period of work, your main responsibilities and achievements. The latter is especially important to power up your CV.

“Recruiters always ask about the achievements in your recent role. Take some time to think about the value and results you’ve delivered. Including your achievements is crucial for positions with measurable KPIs like sales and marketing. Make sure to highlight that you’ve got 150 new customers or increased revenue by 30%,” says Anastasiia Martyniuk, a recruiter at Readdle.

Resume mistake 3: Too many irrelevant details

Your high school education, a verbose description of your first sales job from those old days, and a bunch of certificates for everything from Photoshop, to ukulele classes, don’t add any value to your CV. All these details just occupy precious space and distract a recruiter from your real benefits as a candidate. 

Make sure everything in your CV is relevant to the position you’re applying for. If you want to work as a designer, and your role requires Photoshop skills, including an appropriate certificate is a wise move. Otherwise, such information doesn’t help a recruiter make their decision.

If you have a long career history, don’t overload your CV with the details on all your previous roles. Focus on several latest experiences, describing your responsibilities and the impact you made. For older roles, just list a company name and your position.

Depending on the role you’re applying for, some of your past jobs become more or less relevant. Have you worked as a shop assistant? Then, you know how to deal with customers, and it’s important to mention this while applying for a support specialist. But if you’re looking for a job as a developer, such experience becomes irrelevant, and there’s no need to provide any details on it.

Resume mistake 4: Too many pages

Your CV isn’t the right place to tell the complete story of your life. A long resume wastes a reader’s time and makes it hard to quickly find the needed information.

“No matter the experience and career history, it’s cool when a candidate can present all the information on a single page. This demonstrates a recruiter how you can structure your thoughts and present data in a brief, concise way,” says Anastasiia Martyniuk.

1-2 pages is a perfect CV length which is enough to summarize your experience and qualifications. If you need help with crafting your CV, this modern resume template can be a real lifesaver.

Resume mistake 5: One-size-fits-all CV

Always customize your CV for each role you’re applying for. Do some research to find out what an employer looks for and make sure to highlight the required skills and achievements in your resume. Does the job require the Google Ads certificate? If you have one, link to it from your CV. Does an employer need someone with great public speaking skills? Include a link to your recent conference talk.

By tailoring your resume to the job description, you save the recruiter’s time and help them understand that you’re a perfect fit for a role.

Resume mistake 6: Long gaps without any explanation

Unexplained gaps in your CV look suspicious, and a recruiter will definitely ask you about them. Sometimes will all need to take a break and recharge our batteries, and it’s better to be honest about it in your resume. Just indicate that you were traveling, devoted some time to personal projects, or took a break due to illness.

Resume mistake 7: Hiding unsuccessful job experiences

What if you were fired from one of the companies you worked for? It’s tempting to omit this experience at all, but this will arise additional questions from a recruiter, and they won’t be happy about your dishonesty. 

“Some candidates say they worked at some company, but it didn’t go well so they didn’t include this experience in their resume. I suggest adding such experience anyway as it’s important for a potential employer to understand what went wrong at your previous workplace and make sure their company is the best fit for you,” says Anastasiia Martyniuk. 

Resume mistake 8: Photos

Unless you’re applying for a model or actor, avoid adding your photo to a resume. 

“There is no unequivocal opinion on this matter. Please choose your photo carefully to make sure it fits to your role. Including a link to your LinkedIn profile on your CV is perfectly acceptable. Most recruiters will refer to it anyway at some point in the hiring process. People will find your photo anyway,” says Mike Velikanov, a talent sourcer at Readdle.

Resume mistake 9: Crazy fonts and colors

Your CV design experiments won’t make readers happy. Use one traditional font like Arial or Times New Roman and make the headings bold. That’s enough to make sure your resume looks appropriate and is easy to read.

We’ve already prepared a professional-looking curriculum vitae template for you. Feel free to download it.

Resume mistake 10: Unproven claims and buzz words

So you’re a highly motivated team player with excellent negotiation skills? Be ready to prove these claims with real examples from your career. Unless you can recall a situation when you used your problem-solving skill, avoid mentioning it in your resume.

Resume mistake 11: Lack of keywords

When a recruiter skims your CV, they want to quickly see the skills and experience required for a job. You can help them by adding the keywords relevant to your position. For example, if you’re applying for an iOS-developer, your CV should include keywords like Swift, Objective-C, domain-driven design, etc. Just don’t forget to be honest and include only the skills you really have.

Once you’ve learned the common resume mistakes and how to avoid them, it’s time for some practice. Feel free to download the best resume template and customize it for your needs. You can easily edit it with PDF Expert, the powerful PDF editor for Mac and iOS. 

Which resume mistakes have you made throughout your career? Let us know in comments!

Maria Henyk Maria Henyk

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