Avoid These 7 Common Resume Writing Mistakes

Resume writing isn’t easy. In fact, many people opt to hire an expert resume writer to complete this task and this makes good sense. Your resume provides you with an opportunity to make a great first impression. While a resume writing company is your best bet, if you do write your own resume, be sure not to make any of the following mistakes.

1. Spelling Errors

I’m sure this seems obvious, but at Resume Writing Group, our team of resume experts reviews a lot of “homemade” resumes and we almost always find at least one careless error. Whether it’s an obvious spelling error or a more subtle issue such as a “there, their, they’re” type of error, a single spelling mistake can cost you a job.

It may seem nitpicky, but why should a hiring manager choose someone who has so little attention to detail that they made spelling mistakes in their resume? And, don’t rely on your word processing software’s spellcheck program, which often misses some pretty significant errors.

2. Incorrect Contact Information

Whether you write your own resume or use a resume writing service, you need to double and triple check your contact information. If you type in the wrong phone number or email address, it’s a bit difficult for a hiring manager to contact you. Even if you hire a resume writer, be sure to double-check that you provided the writer with the correct information.

3. Inconsistent Style

While an inconsistent style might not cost you an interview or even a job, it does tend to make a resume a bit harder to read and a little sloppy. Keep the typefaces and the way you use them consistent throughout the resume. For instance, if you use bold Calibri as the header for “Work Experience,” be sure to use bold Calibri as the header for “Education,” “Additional Skills,” and any other sections you include.

If you identified job tasks with bullets in one section, don’t identify job tasks with dashes in another section. Don’t use multiple typefaces, instead stick with a single typeface and utilize the bold, italics and perhaps small-cap versions of this typeface to ensure that your resume looks clean and polished.

Style inconsistencies also can refer to your writing style. For instance don’t state that you managed 25 employees in one section, and then state that you managed thirty-one in another. These are tiny things, but when you keep the style consistent, the hiring manager concentrates on the content and not the inconsistencies.

4. Too Much Information

Sometimes it’s difficult for people to know what information to include and which items to omit in a resume. Because your resume should be only a page in length (or two pages for an executive resume), there’s only room enough to include the most important information pertaining to the job opening.

There are a few items that you should toss out right away. For instance, don’t include the line, “references available upon request.” This wastes a line of type that could be better spent explaining why you are a great job candidate. Obviously, if references are requested, you should provide them, but that’s a given and you don’t need to specify that on a resume.

Additionally, unless you are an entry-level job candidate, perhaps fresh out of college or trade school, your high school information and previous part-time jobs probably aren’t necessary to add. Once you’ve been out in the workforce for a while, it’s best to stick with listing only professional experience in your industry. You also should not include your photograph, age, religion, gender or whether or not you are married or have children. None of this is pertinent on an American resume, and hiring managers can’t even ask for this information in most cases.

A professional resume writer can be the best judge of what to include on a resume and what not to include. So if you are having trouble, this is yet another reason why it can be wise to hire a resume specialist.

5. Too Many Design Elements

If you search the internet for resume writing and design, you will find a plethora of well-design, sparkly resumes with cool designs. While these might look fantastic, hiring managers typically prefer a plain, straightforward design without all the bells and whistles.

Most resumes these days are submitted electronically and then run through applicant-tracking software. This software only recognizes basic typefaces and traditional margins. If you have an artsy resume, this software might not be able to decipher your text. If you do wish to create a resume with a cool design, it’s best to save that resume for the times when you physically hand a resume to a human being, such as at a conference or seminar or perhaps at your job interview.

6. Deceptive Information & Outright Lies

You might be surprised to learn how many people lie on a resume. They lie about earning a college degree or alter their employment dates. While writing down any lie is a mistake, the most significant embellishments include adding skills to a resume that you don’t possess.

Hiring managers easily can check to see if you earned or attended a specific college (most colleges and universities will supply this information.) and it’s easy for them to call a former employer and inquire about the correct employment dates. If you get caught in a lie, you are virtually guaranteed to not get a job offer and it’s possible that the hiring manager might pass along the information to colleagues, tarnishing your image.

Furthermore, when you lie about skills you don’t have and are hired but cannot handle the work, it’s going to become obvious very quickly that you aren’t the right person for the job. If you lack a few of the skills needed for your dream job, it’s better to start learning those skills, perhaps taking a class or attending a workshop. During an interview, you can express to the hiring manager that you are currently working toward competency in whatever skill, software program, etc. that is needed.

7. Failing To Sell Yourself

We often see resumes where people list their work experience in the blandest way possible. They list the company name, dates of the work experience, the job title and a couple of responsibilities. It tends to look like this:

Office Manager
Smith & Smith Inc., Chicago, IL|2017-2019

  • Responsible for company payroll
  • Ordered company supplies
  • Arranged employee schedules

While this provides some basic idea of what you did during your time at a company, it doesn’t showcase the scope of your skills.

Office Manager
Smith & Smith Inc., Chicago, IL|2017-2019

  • Managed & upgraded payroll system for 50+ employees, reduced payroll costs by 20%
  • Ordered supplies & created inventory system, reduced costs by 30% each year
  • Arranged work & vacation schedules for 30+ employees

In this second example, work skills are quantified with very specific information. The hiring manager can see how many people the office manager dealt with and how this person’s skills saved the company money. Quantifying your skills is crucial on a resume because it provides a broader picture of your abilities and can set you apart from the pack.

If you can avoid these resume mistakes, you likely will create a fairly good resume. However, resume writing is a bit of an art form, and if you truly want a job-winning resume, it’s best to hire a professional. At Resume Writing Group, we can provide you with a top-quality, error-free and dynamic resume that attracts the attention of hiring managers.

In fact, we are so confident in the quality of our resume writing that we back it with a unique guarantee. If you use our resume and follow our advice, but are not hired in 45 days or less, we will refund the cost of your resume and pay you an additional $100. In addition to our resume writing services, we also can provide you with cover letter writing, LinkedIn profile writing and career coaching.


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