9 Common Resume Mistakes That Can Kill Your Credibility

9 Common Resume Mistakes That Can Kill Your Credibility

Establishing your credibility and professionalism can be key to landing a great job. Even you’re qualified for the jobs you’re applying for, making a wrong first impression can hinder your chances. Submitting a flawed resume will make you look unprofessional and uninterested, regardless of your skills.

Because of this, you should watch out for common resume mistakes that will get you screened out. Recruiters agree that while some errors get looked over, others are real deal-breakers. So, if you want to succeed in your job hunt, make sure to avoid these common resume mistakes.

Common resume mistakes that can kill your credibility as a candidate

1. Spelling and errors

Although proofreading your resume may seem obvious, grammatical errors are one of the most common resume mistakes. Having somebody else proofread your resume can help to cut the mistakes that you did not notice. Additionally, to uncover errors that spell check didn’t find, try using a tool like Grammarly. This will highlight not only spelling but also syntax and contextual mistakes.

2. Too many business buzzwords

Using keywords in your resume is vital to get past the applicant tracking software. But, avoid overstuffing your resume with keywords and buzzwords. This will sound forced and unnatural and make the resume hard to read. Instead, use these words only where they make sense. If you’re not sure whether you have overused a word, have someone else read over your resume and look for any terms that stand out.

3. Including obvious skills

While you may be proficient in software like Word or Excel, these skills are no longer as valuable. In fact, most hiring managers assume that all applicants have these basic computer skills. So instead of including them, use the resume space to highlight unique skills like coding or graphic design. These will make you stand out and appeal to the hiring managers.

4. Lying

It may be tempting to exaggerate your qualifications to stand out more, but this common resume mistake can cost you the job. In most cases, the hiring manager or the employer will sooner or later discover your lie. This will make you appear unprofessional, taint your reputation, or even get you fired. Hiring managers are proficient at detecting common lies. These include applicants’ education, skills, employment dates, job titles, and experience. Apart from these, if your resume doesn’t match your cover letter or LinkedIn profile, it may seem like you are hiding something.

5. Not customizing your resume

Especially when applying for many jobs, you may be using the same resume for every application. But this mistake might be why your resume never makes it to the recruiter. Most resumes go through an applicant tracking software that searches it for the desired keywords. If you don’t include these, the software will reject your resume, even if you are qualified. To avoid this, tailor your resume for each application. When adding keywords, focus on both the job requirements and the company values.

6. Poor writing

Your writing has a significant impact on how the recruiter will view you. And while your qualifications come first, the way you express yourself often matters just as much. Focus on being grammatically correct and keeping a formal tone throughout your resume. Also, ensure that your resume is understandable even to somebody outside of the industry. Ask a friend or a family member to proofread it and then edit it so that it is clear and concise.

7. Hard to read and unorganized

Your resume should be neat, clean, and simple to read. In short, less is more. Spacious design with enough white space will make it easy for the recruiter to skim your resume for information. Make sure to differentiate the sections on your resume and use bullet points to describe your job responsibilities. The reader should be able to get to know your professional path in only a few seconds.

8. Too long

Your resume should be at most two pages long. Your resume should not be longer than two pages unless you are applying for a position in the academic or research field. To achieve this, focus on highlighting only the most critical information and achievements. It is irrelevant to include more than 10-15 years of work experience. Use bullet points to present your most significant achievements in each position. Also, make sure to remove outdated information like marital status, age, or hobbies.

9. Forgetting contact information

Make sure to include every way of contacting you the recruiter may need. This includes your phone, address, email, and social media links. Avoid using an email address that is tied to your current position, or one that sounds unprofessional. Adding a city and state is enough if you don’t want to share your full address. To save space, don’t use headers like ‘phone’ or ‘email.’ The recruiter can quickly tell which is which.

How to Avoid common resume mistakes

To avoid getting screened out, make sure you check your resume for these 9 common resume mistakes. Proofread and edit your resume to catch any errors and spelling mistakes. It is often hard for the writer to see his own mistakes. So, try to read your resume from the bottom up or from the last page to the first. Even better, ask a friend to read your resume. They might point out syntax, clarity, or contextual errors you did not notice. Finally, use online tools to perfect your resume alongside Word’s spell checker. Tools like Grammarly or Editorr proofread and check your documents for grammar errors, typos, and syntax mistakes. While some errors can be pardoned, these nine mistakes are considered deal-breakers by many recruiters.


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