Do you know what the biggest resume mistakes are that will hold you back from being shortlisted and are you making resume mistakes that can stop you from getting to interviews?
With so many factors at play when it comes to writing a winning resume, it’s no wonder that some of these points get overlooked. But with the job market being as competitive as ever, there’s little room for error. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most common resume mistakes that can stop you from getting an interview.
15 Resume Mistakes That Can Stop You Getting An Interview
1. Your contact details are not provided, are incorrect, or are not visible
You’ve done all the hard work of writing a winning resume, only to go and add an incorrect mobile number. Sounds crazy right? Well, believe it! It happens. This is something that has happened and to say it’s frustrating as a recruiter is an understatement.
If you happen to change your contact number make sure you update your resume to reflect this. Of course, you’ll always get a follow-up email but if the job you’ve applied for has a process that’s moving fast if a recruiter can’t get hold of you on that first, second, or third call, then you might miss the cut for the initial shortlist.
2. Your resume has spelling and grammatical errors
When it comes to your resume check, double-check, and check again. With the tools we have available today there are some resume mistakes that are simply unforgivable, especially if you’ve stated that you’re detail-oriented! Avoid making spelling errors by using the tools at your disposal! As well as the spelling and grammar checker that comes with MS Office, there are other tools like Grammarly which can help. This is a personal favorite of mine.
3. Homophones, Homographs, and Homonyms
Homo what? What on earth are Homophones, Homographs, and Homonyms?!
Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings, what’s more, they’re also usually spelled differently which is where mistakes can happen. Examples include Led, as in, “ I led a team in my last role” AND lead, which is the heavy metal element with the chemical symbol Pb. Other examples include; knew and new or meat and meet.
Finally, homographs, are words that have the same spelling but differ in origin, meaning, and sometimes pronunciation, such as the verb bear (to carry or endure) and the noun bear (the animal with a shaggy coat).
OK, so not all these will cause you issues on your resume, but hey, now you know! The fact is that words that fall under these categories are confusing, whether you’re reading them or writing, so it’s critical to take note because a spellchecker alone won’t pick up on them.
You can find a list of some of the most common homonyms, homophones, and homographs in this article in ThoughtCo.
4. Your resume is full of typos
The days of handwriting are long gone-I should know, my handwriting these days leaves a lot to be desired! We type everything! But with that we now have typos and if you’re in a hurry, we all know what can happen.
Again, typos won’t always get picked up, so be sure to check your resume thoroughly for this common resume mistake.
The key takeaway from all this is that you need to be careful when writing your resume. Because something which might seem like a small mistake could be seen as a sign of carelessness which is not the impression you want to give.
5. There are style and formatting issues
You’ve taken the time to search for and select an excellent resume template. Unfortunately, you’ve not sent your final resume as a PDF. This can mean saying goodbye to all that lovely formatting.
Whatever you do, always save your resume as a PDF. This will ensure that the style and formatting are preserved when you click submit. Don’t make this common resume mistake that’s so easily avoidable.
6. The profile is not aligned with the job you’re applying for
You’ve applied for a Marketing role, but your profile clearly states that you’re passionate about a career in sales, logistics, or anything else for that matter. Unfortunately, this happens more than it should. And it might not always be as obvious as this. For example, another common mistake I’ve seen on resumes is candidates stating that they’re looking for a specific career experience that the company they’ve applied to simply can’t offer.
If you’re applying to a small company that likely has a very small team, stating that you’re looking forward to leading a huge team is a risky move.
Another resume mistake to avoid at all costs.
7. You’ve sent the wrong resume
Tailoring your resume to each job you apply for is a great way to stand out. Especially if you have varied knowledge and experience. Focusing on one aspect of your experience over another could make the difference between getting selected for an interview and not.
But this only works if you send the right resume. From including the wrong company name on the resume, to the wrong job title to highlighting the wrong skills. These are all mistakes I’ve seen. And they could all be as a result of not sending the right resume. Something as simple as not sending your most recent version, leaving a seemingly long gap where your most recent employment should be is a resume mistake that can cost you an interview.
While all these things might sound trivial, they have happened and it’s a real shame because when recruiters have over 1000 resumes to consider for just one role, everything becomes critical.
Make sure you’re sending the right attachment before you hit submit.
15 Resume Mistakes That Can Stop You Getting An Interview…
8. You do not demonstrate the required skills
If you’re applying to a role for which you have zero required skills/ transferable skills, then you need to review your job search strategy and you’re making another common resume mistake.
What often happens is that candidates forget to focus on the skills and experiences that are most pertinent for the job. Worst of all, sometimes, candidates forget to mention the one seemingly small skill that could be their biggest selling point.
Don’t make this resume mistake and do this to yourself. Make sure you thoroughly analyze your skills and experiences AND what you’ve written on your resume against the job description and be sure to put your focus on demonstrating that you have the skills or transferable skills that count.
[ Related: These Are The Most In-Demand Skills Right Now]
9. Your resume is too long
I once received a resume that was 10 pages long. Now, I’m not talking about the resume of a research scientist or a medical professional which can undoubtedly be very long, I’m talking about the resume of a corporate professional. In this case, a 10-page resume is far too long.
Sure, the candidate had some good, relevant experience, but what are the chances of a hiring manager reading these 10 pages cover to cover. Slim to none!
And the reason for this goes beyond the fact that people are busy. Because I know you know that. But you also need to remember that your resume says more about you than the words you use alone.
A resume this long indicates someone who can’t be concise, even when it matters most. And as you know, communication skills are one of the most critical elements of success. What’s more, it also raises concerns about someone’s ability to prioritize. Because rather than selecting what was most important and focusing on that, they chose to share every little detail.
10. You’ve left out critical information
Being selective and prioritizing what you include on your resume is a good thing, but make sure you don’t leave out the things that are most important for the job that you’re applying for. And always be sure to include achievements, results, and outcomes.
11. Your resume is a laundry list
Following on from point number 10, another common major resume mistake is simply writing a laundry list. This means just listing all the activities that you did. Candidates who do this will often copy and paste information from their job descriptions, worse still, where they have held the same job in multiple companies they even copy and paste the same job description multiple times, leaving out any real valuable and personal information.
A resume should not just be a job description. Of course, you need to explain what you did, but you need to go further than that.
12. You left them guessing
If you’re writing a chronological resume ( Hint: This is the preferred resume by most recruiters and hiring managers) then you need to make sure you include the dates. A common mistake I see is candidates only mentioning the date they started working at a company and leaving off the date they left.
While this could be a simple honest mistake, I’ll be honest, when I see it, it makes me think that you weren’t at the company for very long and not for good reasons.
Of course, roles can be short for a number of reasons, for example, the role was a temporary cover, the company made unexpected structural changes or you were brought in for a specific project which you finished. If this is the case, then it’s best to include the dates and explain the situation.
You can also group periods of short-held roles like projects, freelance work, or short temp roles together. This will both read better and give a better impression.
Leaving people guessing is never a good idea because we all know how wild imaginations can run. And I can assure you, I’ve interviewed candidates that had gaps for all sorts of reasons… so nothing is ever out of the question.
13. Your language does not match the language used in the job description
If your skills have potentially different labels, then it’s best to use the wording that resonates with the company you’re applying to. A resume that clearly states the exact skills that the hiring manager is looking for in a similar or exact wording will more readily stand out than one which doesn’t.
Of course, this doesn’t mean making the laundry list mistake, you would also need to elaborate thoroughly to provide evidence of this experience.
Using the company’s own language will show that you’ve read and understood what’s required.
14. You don’t show how you add value
One of THE most common resume mistakes I’ve seen is candidates not showing how they added value in past roles, in fact, I’m talking about even copying and pasting past job descriptions and leaving it at that.
The trouble with copy-pasting a job description as a resume is that it doesn’t cover results, outcomes, or achievements. It also doesn’t show what you really did since some job descriptions can be very generic.
What hiring managers want to see is that you had results. People who talk in terms of results, outcomes, and benefits will always stand out over those who only talk about the actions that they took.
15. Your resume is focused on the wrong skills
Did you read the job description thoroughly? Are you clear on what they’re looking for? Two seemingly simple questions. But if you can’t answer yes to both of these questions then you might be best off contacting a recruiter or hiring manager before making an application because even if you have the best resume in the world, if what you focus on isn’t what’s important in the role then you’re fighting a losing battle.
The takeaway? Before you start applying to any role, make sure you know exactly what they’re looking for and what’s required.