10 Deadly Resume Mistakes

By Robert Mandelberg, CPRW, CEIP
I am often asked for advice on creating knock-em-dead, interview-getting, Pulitzer-Prize-winning, blow- the-competition-out-of-the-water, super-cool resumes. In this article, however, I will discuss the exact opposite: Costly resume mistakes. Understanding what not to include on a resume can be just as helpful as resume pointers.If you’re in the beginning stages of building your resume, then you will want to be sure to avoid these blunders:

1. Resume is too random and generic; lacks focus. For fear of limiting their opportunities, many people are afraid to make a stand and commit to a target position or industry. Consequently, their resumes end up being too long and too general. Jacks-of-all-trades are generally passed up for specialists and experts with targeted focuses.

2. Too much emphasis on job descriptions and not enough on accomplishments. In most cases, your job title alone speaks volumes about your day-to-day responsibilities. It is far more effective to describe achievements and quantifiable results. Your duties are important, but not as much as how well you performed them.

3. Weak or general objectives. In most fields, you do not need to have an objective on your resume. A well- crafted “headline” or summary section is sufficient to provide the reader with a clear understanding of your target position.

4. Silly mistakes: This includes everything from hard-to-read type styles to wrong phone numbers to having unprofessional email addresses (listing your email as wildpartygirl123@aol.com on your resume won’t help your job search … or will it?)

5. Lying on resumes. It is very easy these days for employers to check into your background. Many companies hire outside agencies to perform pre-employment investigations. Adding a degree you don’t have or changing dates on your employment history or omitting jobs altogether are fairly simple to detect if the company does any checking at all.

6. Listing irrelevant information such as hobbies, interests, personal data, political or religious affiliations, or obscure memberships (wow, are you really the vice president of Milky Way Lovers International? You’re hired!).

7. Adding nonsense to “fill up the page.” Although it is unlikely you won’t be able to fill up a page with pertinent experiences and accomplishments, I would much prefer you creating quarter-of-a-page of high-impact achievements rather than a packed page filled with meaningless fluff.

8. There is no number 8.

9. Using tiny print or ridiculous margins to cram extra information onto the page. Do not be afraid to venture onto a second (or even third) page if the information is relevant and results-focused.

10. Sending a resume without a cover letter. At the very least, sending a cover letter is more professional than sending a resume by itself. Use it as an opportunity to highlight your value and point out specific reasons why you are the perfect candidate for the job.

Avoid these mistakes, focus on your unique value, and you will have a powerful and persuasive resume.

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