Top 10 Resume Blunders

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Part of my role in HR is recruiting. I am constantly amazed at some of the bad resumes that I receive.

Just last week I received a resume that had random hashtags (#) all over it. My first thought was nah, that can’t be. Maybe the person is using some fancy symbol for a bullet point in some weird font that my system is not recognizing. So I double checked the font on the resume and it was typed in Arial. The hashtags were deliberate. Then I thought well, it would be interesting if the hashtags hyper-linked to some cool stream of information. I checked and no, there was nothing hyper-linked.

The hashtags were random and were not relevant to the position that the person was applying for.

While this resume was an extreme example of ‘what not to do‘ there are many common mistakes that I see in resumes over and over again.

Here is my list of top 10 resume blunders:

1) Using multiple font types – This is the most common ‘blunder’ that I see when screening resumes. I have seen resumes that have contained up to 5 different font types. This does not show me that you are creative or trying to be unique.

2) Different font sizes – I can understand making your contact information or headings slightly bigger; but changing font sizes in the middle of job descriptions or mid-sentence is a blunder.

3) Using templates incorrectly – I can tell that you used a template when phrases such as “Insert your experience here” or “Put your objective here” is still on your resume.

4) Picking the wrong homonym – Using there, their or they’re; your or you’re; to, two or too; accept or except; affect or effect; than or then incorrectly.

5) Not changing objectives on your resume – I can tell right away when a resume was not proofread when I see the objective referring to another position at another company.

6) Having a long list of competencies with no experience – Having 5 or 6 is fine fresh out of school, but insisting that you are proficient in 20 to 30 areas with no experience makes me think that you may be exaggerating a lot.

7) Being an entry level candidate with a resume that is 4 pages long or longer – Some positions require a c.v instead of a resume (there is a difference). For most entry level positions, or graduates out of college/university a 4 page resume is probably too long.

8) Not proofreading your resume – Spell check will not catch the wrong word spelled correctly. I had an example of this when I had a resume where the person meant to use the word discs….and well….take out an ‘s’ and add a ‘k’ and it was a pretty humorous read.

9) Formatting – Check how your resume looks when printed, saved in a different file format or on different screens.  I have seen resumes that have had weird page breaks with 1/2 a blank page right in the middle.

10) Wrong contact information – So your resume looks good, doesn’t have any of the blunders listed above and I go to call or email you and the contact information is not correct. DOH! Have to move on to the next candidate.

Have you come across any other blunders that I have missed? I would love to hear your stories. Please leave a comment below.

5 comments

  1. Chantal Bechervaise – Outaouais Region - Canada – I blog about everything surrounding the world of work and how it intersects with personal life. Topics include: HR, Leadership, Social Media, Technology, Work-Life Balance, Employee Engagement, Workplace Culture and Achieving Success and Happiness. It is all about your own personal balance and what is appropriate for you. I also love the outdoors and reconnecting with nature.
    Chantal Bechervaise says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my post.
    A Resume is usually a short, concise summary of your work experience, highlighting achievements and outcomes. A resume is usually 2-3 pages max. Whereas a C.V. (curriculum vitae) is much more detailed, elaborating on the work experiences and includes publications, teaching grants, associations, etc. C.V.’s tend to be much longer.
    In my experience with recruiting and staffing, the private sector prefers resumes, and the public sector, academic sector and research sector prefer C.V.’s.
    A lot of people use the word resume/C.V. interchangeably.

  2. hi Chantal, I consider it a blunder when I see a resume that’s 1.1 pages long. Reformat or edit so those last few lines don’t spill over to another page. Regarding #5, what’s your opinion on resumes having objective statements?

    • Chantal Bechervaise – Outaouais Region - Canada – I blog about everything surrounding the world of work and how it intersects with personal life. Topics include: HR, Leadership, Social Media, Technology, Work-Life Balance, Employee Engagement, Workplace Culture and Achieving Success and Happiness. It is all about your own personal balance and what is appropriate for you. I also love the outdoors and reconnecting with nature.
      Chantal Bechervaise says:

      Thanks for your comments Rich. I think that objectives on a resume are ‘passé’. I know your objective is to be hired for the position that I am currently staffing for. 🙂 I think that objective section should be a short ‘elevator pitch’ to me as to why you are the best candidate.

  3. […] I’m fascinated. Is this a “thing”? I Googled it because I needed to know. I didn’t find anything that makes me think this is common practice (phew.)  In fact, the only thing I found was an HR blogger who was joking about someone actually using a hashtag in a resume. And, the blog was appropriately titled Top 10 Resume Blunders. […]

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