Your resume is the first thing that recruiters see, so it’s important that it represents you in the best possible light. With this in mind, here are the biggest resume mistakes you need to avoid at all costs if you want to land your dream job.

Biggest Resume Mistake #1: Not Tailored To The Job

I know you’ve heard this before, but I bet you’ve still done it! One of the biggest resume mistakes to avoid is not tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying for. Even if you’re applying to a number of jobs that are the same in terms of roles and responsibilities, the companies are different, the job descriptions are different with different activities taking priority, and the company cultures are different. Making even the most minor tailoring can make all the difference because it shows that you’re not just applying anywhere and everywhere. 

Remember companies want to know that you’re interested in them and in that role specifically, that your not just looking for any job.

Biggest Resume Mistake #2: Grammatical Errors

Number 2 on the list when it comes to the biggest resume mistakes to avoid is grammatical errors. Check your resume for errors. And remember spell checker won’t catch everything. The best thing you can do is use a tool like Grammarly. In addition, I recommend you have someone else read your resume as well. This way you can be sure that nothing slips through the net. 

Biggest Resume Mistake #3: Inappropriate Styling

Would you go to a wedding dressed in all black? And would you show up to a formal dinner in athleisure? These are actually trick questions because the answer should be it depends. It depends on whose wedding you’re going to, and it depends on the host of the formal dinner. 

And it’s the same way with resume styles. You need to make sure that the style you pick is appropriate for the role and for the company you’re applying to. 

And if you’re not sure, then it’s best to play it safe. Like not wearing all black to a wedding. 

With so many wonderful templates out there, it’s tempting to go wild when picking a resume style. But exercise caution. Often, clean and simple is best. 

I once had a candidate apply for a role with a highly creative resume. It had diagrams and lots of bold and bright colors everywhere. 

But while it demonstrated his creativity and showed that he wasn’t afraid to do things differently, for the role he was applying for, and for that particular company, the style just didn’t work.

But the worst part is that it was actually very difficult to read. It wasn’t easy to see the most important information, and the clash of colors was a strain on the eyes. 

When it comes to the style of your resume, it must be easy to read.

Biggest Resume Mistake #4: Picking Inappropriate Fonts

If your resume isn’t easily legible then you’re done. You could have the best experience in the world for the job, but you still won’t be considered. 

The font you use will play a big part in how easy to read your resume is. That’s why picking the wring font is another key resume mistake to avoid. 

There are plenty of fonts to pick from that are professional and easy to read. 

Some of the best fonts for your resume include:

  • Arial 
  • PT Sans
  • Helvetica
  • Verdana 
  • Calibri 

Personally, I think sans serif fonts are the best way to go, but if you prefer to opt for Serif fonts you could try:

  • Georgia 
  • EB Garamond 
  • Lora 
  • Domine

With recruiters receiving thousands of resumes per day, a resume that’s difficult to read simply won’t make the cut.

What’s more, while some fonts might look pretty, they aren’t professional, so pick something clear and easy to read, and while you’re at it, be sure to use a legible size. 

If your resume is too long, using a tiny font size in order to fit it onto one or two pages will not give you an edge! 

Ultimate Resume Writing Guide

Biggest Resume Mistake #5: Not Value and Benefit Focused

When companies are hiring, they’re looking for someone to come and fix a problem, not someone to come and perform a task. Roles and responsibilities are merely a vehicle for companies to achieve their goals and for problems to be solved. This is why not focusing on the value and benefits that you will bring is one of the biggest resume mistakes you can make. 

Remember this when you’re writing your resume and avoid falling into the trap of writing a long list of every task you performed in each role. Focus instead on the things that added value. 

There’s nothing wrong with listing what you did, but if this is all you do then you’re missing an opportunity to stand out.

Biggest Resume Mistake #6: Too Long

If you have less than circa 10  years of experience then you should be able to fit your resume on a single page. If you’re more experienced, then two pages are fine. While this might sound like very little space, even the busiest roles can be distilled down. Remember you should be picking only the most relevant experience to the job you’re applying for, so not all past roles need to be covered in detail and not all duties need to be included. 

Biggest Resume Mistake #7: Missing Key Information & Including Unnecessary Information

One of the biggest resume mistakes you can make is not including valuable information that will make you stand out. This could be some volunteer work you did, a language that you speak, or a rare technical skill that you have. Exactly what it is will depend on the company and the role that you’re applying for.

Always research the company thoroughly and make sure you’ve read the job description in detail and then reviewed your resume against the requirements. What’s more, try to read between the lines. Ask yourself “What are some of the problems that this role solves and how can I show that I can solve them?”

To make sure you have room to include everything that’s valuable, make sure you exclude things that are not. Remove details about jobs that don’t add value. Don’t include past qualifications that are not relevant and remove anything that could be seen as fluff.

More job search tips:

5 Most Common Interpersonal Skills Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

35 Most Important Questions To Ask Recruiters

The Perfect Template For A Thank You Note After Interview