resume gaffes

Common Resume Gaffes

Resume gaffes can put a halt to your career advancement, regardless of how well educated, skilled, and referenced you are. Be on the lookout for these resume gaffes that could derail your job hunt and chances for career success.

Worn Out Clichés

Worn out clichés are like your old, comfy jeans. They belong in after-hours gatherings, rather than the workplace. Better to get to the point, noting your abilities in measurable terms, rather than overwhelm the hiring manager with overused jargon.

Vocabulary Misuse

Call it misuse or misspelling, some words can slip-up the best of us. For example, hitting send before noticing the dreaded error of typing “their” in the place of “there”, or “they’re.”   Although, you know the difference, resume gaffes like this can easily slip-in when we are typing quickly.

Font Size and Style Matter

Focus on these two points! First, your resume needs to be easily read by the automated resume screening software. Once it is approved for HR to review, it needs to stand out. Clear, crisp font style in a healthy size will make your resume shine. As it’s a short read, a sans serif font like Calibri is an apt choice. Go no smaller than font size 11, preferably at a minimum of 12.

Second, select a simple design style. Pick one with a good balance of text and ‘white space’ that is not dominated by design elements.

Focus on the Job at Hand

Applying for a new position can feel like a full-time job, in itself. When done well, it can be well worth your effort. Refine your  résumé for each position. Select keywords from the job description to highlight your experience and skills. Using care to assure your résumé truly represents your skills will reap professional rewards.

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Resume Mistakes

Avoid Common Resume Mistakes with this Easy Checklist

Every time you begin a new job search you should first look over your resume for needed updates or edits. Does your old resume have mistakes that you missed?  Are there updates to your work history?  Is the design outdated?   This checklist will help assure that resume mistakes do not distract from your accomplishments.

Typos and Word Use

Misspellings and other resume mistakes happen. Unfortunately, they imply limited attention to detail in the eyes of hiring managers. Consider your word usage. Are your words conveying your intent?

  • Pay attention to spell check.
  • Check the dictionary for correct spelling and word use.

Tense and Syntax

Resume tense use can be confusing, as can syntax.

  • Use past tense for former positions, and present tense for your current job.
  • Proper syntax means that subjects and verbs need to agree, just like those in this sentence!

Pronouns are Frowned Upon

Use of personal pronouns is suitable for less formal writing. Formal documents like resumes avoid pronoun use.

  • It is best not to use “I,” “me,” “we,” or “she.”
  • Responsibilities and accomplishments are neutrally presented:
    • Assisted management team with productivity reports.
    • Redesigned workflow, reducing attrition and absenteeism within six months.

Professional Information Only

Your information should be limited to what makes you the perfect job candidate. Not a best friend or workout buddy.

  • Include your name, credentials, and contact information, including email and phone.
  • Do not list hobbies or personal interests unless these relate to the position you seek.

Focus on the Position

Let your resume show how qualified you are!

  • Use job posting keywords to focus on your qualifications for the position.
  • Give listing priority to past positions that demonstrate your ability to excel at this job.
  • Highlight responsibilities and accomplishments similar to this position.

Resume Design and File Type

Clear resume design increases your chance of being invited to interview.

  • Select a resume with balanced white space.
  • Font: size 11 or 12 in a standard style such as Calibri or Times New Roman.
  • Use consistent heading and bullet formatting throughout.
  • Save as a PDF file; this assures that formatting is maintained across all platforms.
  • Try to keep it to one page.

Resume Review

  • Recruit trusted friends to help you proofread for pesky resume mistakes.
  • Review for accuracy and consistency in positions, spelling, and formatting.