The job-searching business can be cut-throat stuff. Recruiters reviewing your job application will show no mercy if mistakes are found, and I’m not exaggerating. Any little mistake or even hint of a mistake can potentially be the tipping point that gets your application tossed away, and the most critical part of this process comes down to your resume. So with this in mind, here are some common resume mistakes that I’ve seen throughout my career as a recruiter, as well as how to avoid making them.

1. Grammatical and careless mistakes

It’s perhaps the most common mistake found on resumes and definitely the most damaging one for the careless applicant whom made it. Not only does it reveal the careless nature of the applicant, but it also hints at just how unreliable the applicant may be in all facets of his work. I mean think about it. Having silly mistakes made on the most important document within the entire job application process hints of some serious flaws within the applicant.

Solution: Have your resume reviewed and critiqued by as many people as you possibly can. Have your friends look at it, have your family members look at it, and then tell them to review it again after changes have been made. Often the biggest mistakes are ones that are created during the editing process. If you’re having a hard time finding people to critique your resume, you can ask for resume help from online forums like subreddits.

2. Not understanding proper resume etiquette

Writing a resume is not like writing a school paper or article. There’s a very specific way of doing things that applies only to resume writing. Some more obvious examples you may already have heard about Is to make sure bullet points start with a verb and to avoid using pronouns like “I” or “me”. Other resume traditions may be a lot less obvious and even subtle to the extent where it’s hard to describe.

Solution: Educate yourself with standard resume practices. This can take some researching, but trust me, it’s worth your time – it’s not like you have work to do anyways! There’s an overwhelming amount of resume advice available to you online. Just be sure to listen to the credible advice found on more reputable sites like Glassdoor.

3. Picking fancy resume templates

When it comes to formatting, it can be tempting to pick some super fancy resume template you found online. You figure it’s visually appealing and perhaps that visual prowess might give you an edge when trying to impress the recruiter.

Solution: While this does make sense at the surface, there are many other factors at play here that should dissuade you from picking those super fancy resumes. For one, they don’t translate well when it comes to getting past resume tracking systems. In fact, some tracking systems can’t pick up on fancy resumes depending on how they were created. Another issue is spacing. The more aesthetically pleasing resumes usually have less space for actual content, and it’s the content that recruiters truly care to look at.

4. Being too wordy

Perhaps this problem is a product of job seekers going too far to try and keyword stuff to appease the resume tracking systems. It could also be from just having a hard time fitting everything into simple bullet points. Whatever the reason, the problem is a common one. Sentences on the resume are often overloaded with too many prepositional phrases and technical keywords. This can make it super unpleasant for the recruiters trying to decipher the meaning behind these sentences.

Solution: Keep things simple. Don’t be afraid to break your sentences up and don’t think that bullet points need to be kept at only one sentence. If you’re worried about not having enough keywords, sometimes you can avoid mentioning them in your bullet points by simply listing them in your skills section if applicable.


  • Sophia Bland

    Human Resources Professional and Certified Resume Writer

    Resume Writing Services

    Sophia is a HR expert who's worked as a recruiter and hiring manger for large corporations. She's also a certified resume writer who's passionate about offering career advise in her spare time. Currently she works at Resume Writing Services as one of their senior resume writers who helps her clients elevate their careers and find their next job.