13 Resume Common Mistakes That Can Deny You A Chance For The Job Interview

You are the product, and your resume is the marketing piece. To find your perfect job you must differentiate yourself from the other people who will be interviewed. Here is 13 resume mistakes you must avoid.


Submitting your resume is neither about sweating out an all-purpose document in job speak, nor is it about submitting it to every place you can find – especially on a "what the heck" basis. Your resume is your personal marketing piece. It is what gets you in the door. If you want the hiring manager to call you for interview, make sure your resume is not representative of any of these 13 errors. After going through this post, you should be able to know how to write an effective resume that can make you the best candidate for the job position.

If your objective could be applied to a marketing resume as easily as a resume for an accounting position, then your objective says nothing and will get you nowhere. An objective is NOT some required paragraph at the top of the page that is an exercise in 5 lines of job speak. It is an actual and real description of your skills as they are related to who you are and what you want. It should vary with the type of job for which you are applying for.

"Responsibilities included overseeing construction of 5 Hilton Hotels in San Francisco Metro Area, each 60 floors in height." Yeah? So what? That does not say if they went up on schedule or if you brought the projects in under budget. It does not say if you took all five from site work up or if the guy handling two of the five hotels was fired and you were promoted to overseeing all five. Differentiate yourself from the others coming in to interview. If you do not tell the hiring manager how you will be an asset to them, how will they know?

Do not assume the name and purpose of your company is common knowledge to everybody.  If it is a competitor, it might be, and if it is in the same industry and located nearby, it might be.  To be on the safe side, provide a sentence or two about the focus of your company's products or services.

Do not keep adding on to your resume job after job, year after year. By the time you are in your 40s, you need to have weeded out some of the earlier stuff. You do not need all the college activities, just your degree. You do not need all 5 bullets for each of your first two jobs.

Do not - whatever you do, DON'T - write your resume in the third person!

You might think your weekend baseball coaching or your church choir participation shows you're an interesting and well-rounded person, but they're irrelevant. If the interviewer wants to know who you are as a person, aside from the job interview and your qualifications, he'll ask.

No matter how old you are, do not leave the date of when you were graduated off your resume. It looks like you are hiding something (well, you are, are you not?), and then everyone counts the years backwards and tries to figure out how old you are. Sometimes you can be ruled out - just for leaving the date off. If you are trying to hide your age by not stating the date, what else might you not be forthcoming about?

The references should not be listed on your resume. "References available on request" is the proper phrase. You present them separately when they are requested. This is not about protocol. This is about protecting your references so they are not called until you and the company are serious about each other.

Spell checking visually by you and someone else, any fewer than three times, is not enough. And do not forget to check your punctuation. This is what shows to the recruiting manager how much you pay attention to details.

Do not use one of those resume blaster things. Half of those sites they blast it to are not even valid. You do not know how it will come out on the other end. You do not even know where it is going or if the landing targets are employment related.  It is bad form and just not the way to find your perfect job. Finding your perfect job takes focus, attention, detail, individuality, tailoring, specifics. Resume blasting is about as far from that as you can get.

If it is an ad, you probably have instructions as to how to send it. If it says email, cut and paste it in the form, and attach it. You never know what it can look like on the other end because of the variety of settings available to each user base on the email platform they are using. Quite frankly, you are better off not emailing it at all, because it usually just goes into cyberspace, and then it is all about the hiring company - but unfortunately, besides not sending it at all, sometimes that is your only choice. Emailing your resume takes any option for further participation right out of your hands, because often there is not even a name given for a follow up contact. You have no other option than to wait and wonder. And half the time it is going to HR or an admin department to be scanned into an electronic database.

If you know the company, call and ask if they prefer email, fax, or snail mail. I know a recruiter who never even opened his email. Because he was listed in The Kennedy Guide to Executive Recruiters, he received so many resumes emailed to him cold (so NOT proactive) that he just did a mass delete every morning. Candidates contacted for a specific search were requested to snail mail their resume to him. How about that? I will bet less than 10% of those who emailed their resumes even bothered to follow up to see if it was received, this is not a numbers game.

Ivory paper. Black ink. Individual pages. No plastic, 7th grade, science report cover with the plastic slider or metal push down tabs. Your name centered at the top, not on a cover page that says "Introducing Clifton Lewis Montgomery III". No exceptions. Your resume is a professional document, not a school book report or an art project.  Until every resume is done this way, yours will still stand out in the crowd.

You are the product, and your resume is the marketing piece. To find your perfect job you must differentiate yourself from the other people who will be interviewed.

Your resume must be specific, individualized, easy to skim so it invites a closer reading, and focused on the differences you have made with your previous companies, as well as the accomplishments you have achieved with - and for - them. This tells the hiring company what you can do for them - and it is about the hiring company, not you.

Of course, this assumes you meet the requirements for the job - otherwise it does not matter how good your resume is! The resume is what gets you in the door. If your resume is poorly written, looks sloppy, is difficult to read, is cryptic in any way, or necessitates being slogged through to learn your information, they would not bother and you would not even get in the door.

The bottomline is how can you decide whether you like the company, if they have already decided they do not like you?
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13 Resume Common Mistakes That Can Deny You A Chance For The Job Interview

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