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Top 8 Resume-Writing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Recruiters spend as little as six seconds reviewing resumes. Those six seconds can make or break your job search, though.

If you’re struggling to land an interview and are fed up with rejection messages, you might need to look closer at your resume and make some adjustments.

Not sure where to start when it comes to improving your resume? Below, you’ll find eight common resume-writing mistakes, plus tips on how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: You Forgot to Proofread

Job hunting is tough, and it’s tempting to want to skip steps, especially when you’re sending out what feels like your thousandth resume.

If there’s one step you definitely don’t want to skip, though, it’s proofreading. Nothing makes you look unprofessional quite like a glaring typo (or several).

Take some time before hitting the “Send” button to review your resume carefully, checking for spelling errors and grammatical issues.

If you don’t trust your own proofreading skills, ask a friend or family member to review it for you. You can also rely on tools like Grammarly for help (keep in mind, though, that they’re not foolproof).

Mistake #2: You Left Out Your Contact Info

How is a potential employer supposed to get back to you if you don’t include any contact information in your resume?

It doesn’t matter how great your resume might look and how promising of a candidate you seem to be. Hiring managers have too much work to do to spend valuable time hunting you down.

Make it easy for them to get in touch by adding your contact details, including your phone number and email address, at the top of the page.

Mistake #3: You Need a New Email Address

Speaking of email addresses, the email address you included on your resume could also be part of the problem.

Are you still using the cutesy email address you made up in high school? If so, it’s time for a change.

Your email address should be professional and easy to remember. Stick to something like or   

Mistake #4: Your Information Is Outdated

When was the last time you updated your resume? Are you sending out the same one you made a year ago?

Remember that your resume is a living document. It should be updated regularly (at the very least, every time some part of your employment situation changes).

If your resume is missing essential details or hasn’t been updated in the last year (or longer), you won’t seem like you’re very interested in the jobs for which you’re applying. After all, if you really cared about landing the position, wouldn’t you take the time to update your resume before sending it? 

Mistake #5: You Don’t Show Results

You’ve heard the adage “show, don’t tell,” right? Well, that doesn’t just apply to writing stories. It also applies to your resume.

It’s one thing to tell a hiring manager what your day-to-day responsibilities were at your last company. However, it’s another to show them how you made an impact.

Whenever you can, include specific results you helped produce. For example, did you develop a content plan that produced a 20 percent increase in website traffic?

In cases like these, numbers speak louder than words. The more specific you can be when it comes to the results you delivered, the better.

Mistake #6: You Keyword Stuffed

Keyword stuffing involves excessively repeating keywords or phrases within a document (in this case, your resume).

Some job seekers do this in an attempt to trick applicant tracking systems (ATSs) into giving their resume a higher score. The problem with this approach, though, is that it makes you look deceitful. It suggests that you’re more interested in “hacking” the system rather than getting recognized honestly for your hard work and qualifications.

Furthermore, keyword stuffing generally makes your resume look strange and unnatural.

Even if it helps you get the document through the initial screening process, the second a human gets eyes on it, they’re going to know that something is off — and they will likely penalize you by rejecting your application.

Mistake #7: You Were Redundant

It’s easy to get repetitive when writing your resume, especially if you’ve had similar jobs at different companies. If you say the same thing over and over again, though, you’re going to lose the hiring manager’s interest and decrease your chances of moving on to the next stage of the application process.

Get creative with your resume and look for unique ways to share your responsibilities, skills, day-to-day tasks, etc.

This is another example of why highlighting results is so important. Focusing on the different outcomes you produced at different organizations is a great way to avoid redundancy and make your resume more engaging.

Mistake #8: Your Resume Was Poorly Formatted

Finally, consider the formatting of your resume. Did you use a tiny font or an elaborate one that’s hard to read? Did you use big paragraphs and long sentences? Is there a complete lack of white space on the document?

These formatting issues can make your resume difficult to read (and even more difficult to skim for key details, which is how most hiring managers “read” resumes). Instead, use clear headings, bullet point lists, and a readable font/font size (think Arial or Times New Roman 12-point font).

Don’t assume you have to do it all from scratch, either. Most resume templates will do a lot of the formatting for you and help you produce a readable document more quickly. 

Steer Clear of These Resume-Writing Mistakes 

If you’ve been sending out resume after resume and aren’t getting the results you’re hoping for, make sure you’re making any of the mistakes mentioned above.

Keep in mind, too, that working with a professional resume writer can help you avoid these errors and create a resume that stands out. That’s where our team comes in.

Contact us today for more information on our resume-writing services!