Resume Mistakes: 10 Examples and Fixes

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Your Resume Scream “I’m an Amateur!”

Is your resume not getting as many replies as you expect?

Resume polish cartoon

This is a guest post by Casey Accord. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

You’re probably not actively seeking ways to make yourself appear LESS professional. But plenty of resumes suggest otherwise. This article outlines the 10 most common things people do that make their resumes—and themselves—look amateurish, whether or not that’s the intention.

1. Use Comic Sans or some other over-used, impractical font. Hiring managers especially love flowery script that's hard to read!

Pro Tip: Stick with fonts that are easy to read and professional looking. Great choices are Times New Roman, Georgia, Arial, Verdana, and Tahoma.

2. Include every job you’ve ever had—even that 2-month gig as a video store clerk in junior high.

Pro Tip: If it's not relevant to the position—or completely outdated—forget about it.

3. Include a bunch of unnecessary personal information like your height, weight, birthday and social security number. (This is especially helpful if your prospective employers are also identity thieves.)

Pro Tip: Avoid giving any information that may be too personal or could be used to discriminate against you. Focus on your unique professional traits, not personal ones.

4. Create solid, single-spaced blocks of text in 8-point font to squeeze as much information as possible onto one page.

Pro Tip: Use bullets to break up text and make it easier on the eyes. Be concise and organized in your formatting, and if your experience warrants it, allow your resume to fill two pages. The one-page rule is considered by most to be outdated.

5. Use a lot of clichéd buzzwords like self-motivated, outside-the-box, people person, and team player.

Pro Tip: Don't waste space with meaningless jargon and corporate-speak. Be authentic and cite specific examples that demonstrate who you are and what you are capable of doing.

6. Throw in a few graphics. A little clip art makes any document more fun.

Pro Tip: No. No. No. This is not an art project. It's a resume. Keep it professional. That goes for pictures of yourself as well. Don't do it.

7. Avoid numbers and specifics. Be as vague as possible. Draw them in with mystery.

Pro Tip: Quantify your accomplishments. Using real numbers to back up your claims creates a compelling story.

8. Don’t worry a lot about editing. No one cares about proper spelling these days.

Pro Tip: All it takes is one typo for a hiring manager to toss your resume. Careless mistakes can make you look sloppy or—even worse—uneducated. Proofreading is an absolute essential.

9. Lie, exaggerate or embellish your qualifications. Just keep your fingers crossed that no one finds out.

Pro Tip: You want your resume to represent the real you. The job needs to match your skills. Don't fake it just because you're desperate to get an interview. The truth will always come out—eventually.

10. Use a bunch of cute text lingo and emoticons. This’ll show how tech-savvy and fun you are 😉

Pro Tip: Just say no to slang and other “adorable” embellishments. Your resume is not the place for smiley faces. Focus on using powerful words that add value. Save the textese for your BFF.

About the author

Casey Accord is a writer monkey for Resify.com, the coolest site on the web for resume-related advice and free resume templates. She’s passionate about helping job seekers, correcting public displays of grammar dysfunction, and dressing her dog in silly costumes. You can connect with her on Resify, via email (Casey@Resify.com) or on Twitter (@Resify).

If you recognize who the cartoonist is for the image above, please tell me in the comments so I can credit them. Thanks!

If you found this article useful, you'll also enjoy The Secret “So What?” Method To Resume Writing Success.

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About the Author Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

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16 comments
Jacob Share
Devorie says

Great tips! There are a lot of resume writing articles out there, but this one really nailed it.

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Jacob Share
Michael says

Common sense, no?

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Jacob Share
Jacob Share says

Devorie- glad you liked it.

Michael- if common sense were more common…

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Jacob Share
Vanessa says

Tip 3 is applicable to U.S. resumes only; CVs in the rest of the world include personal information and, often, photos.

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Jacob Share
Jacob Share says

Vanessa- thanks for pointing out how some resume tips may not work in every culture.

Here in Israel, for example, people tend to provide a lot of such personal information but by law they’re not required to, and frankly, should only do so in certain cases, like we discussed here:

Should You Put Age or Marital Status on Your Israeli Resume?

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Jacob Share
How To Evolve A Freelance Cover Letter With Experience | JobMob says

[…] If you liked this article, you’ll also enjoy 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Your Resume Scream “I’m an Amateur!”. […]

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