At a time when jobs are at a premium and you’re likely competing against at least 100 people for a spot, you have to do everything possible to get yourself into that “yes” pile. The resume is one of the first documents that gives an HR manager a look at you — so you need to be sure to not make mistakes that:

  1. cause a bad first impression; and
  2. get your resume tossed into the “no” pile.

Read on to make sure you avoid these all-too-common mistakes.


You. Must. Proofread. Your. Resume. Any resume with a typo will immediately go into the recycling bin, no matter how experienced or accomplished you are. Think of it as a huge red sign that says, “I don’t pay attention to detail.” And this can happen to even the most meticulous of people, most likely because they went back for one more tweak and, in doing so, caused an error. Take care with readjusting your resume too much and read it out loud, word by word, phrase by phrase. Or have someone else who’s a good proofreader look it over — your eyes may gloss over a mistake because you’ve looked at it so many times.

Too long.

You want to get everything in, but remember, this document gets you in the door for the interview; it doesn’t get you the job. Use this rule of thumb: One page for every ten years of work. Considering the average resume gets about seven seconds of viewing, a three-page resume probably isn’t going to get read closely. Focus on the salient points that apply most closely to the particular position and keep it crisp and to-the-point. This also shows you know how to use words economically to make your point and prioritize what’s most important – good skills in any job.


Don’t do it. Whether it’s padding or stretching the truth or just outright falsehoods, it’s not worth doing. HR managers can find out the truth so easily by talking to your former employers or checking the truth of your claims online. A 3.52 GPA does not round up to 4.0, and if you were the head of a team project, that doesn’t make you a manager. Plus if you get caught, that lie will follow you for the rest of your career. And there’s no statute of limitations — just ask former Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson or the former MIT dean who worked for 28 years before it was discovered that she never received any college degrees.

Lack of clarity.

If you have seven seconds to make your point, you have to create a resume that’s easy to read. Have the important points near the top so the reader doesn’t have to scan for them, and use keywords from the job description that will jump out and catch the eye. Use numbers when possible; these give concrete proof of accomplishments (e.g. “Brought sales up by seven percent last quarter”). And stick with the tried-and-true combination of white paper and black ink. Avoid the complex fonts (use at least a 10pt font); keep spacing consistent and columns aligned. Keep it focused as well: Whether you choose a chronological or functional resume, it has to follow a logical progression. 

You want to give yourself every opportunity you can to land a job. Think of the resume as your opening statement — create a strong one that makes them want to know more. Are you looking for a great new career opportunity? Contact PrideStaff, a leading recruitment agency in Akron OH, to see how we can help.

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