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5 Resume Mistakes that Will Cost You the Job

5 Resume Mistakes that Will Cost You the Job

5 Resume Mistakes that Will Cost You the Job

By Hannah Hamilton
Monster Contributing Writer

Your resume is often the first contact you make with a potential employer -- and it can make or break your chances of getting to the next step in the hiring process. Avoid these common resume mistakes that could cost you the job.

Failure to Demonstrate Results


The responsibilities of a role or position often can be reasonably implied in its name, says Laurie Berenson, CMRW and founder of Sterling Career Concepts. But "too often resumes focus on responsibilities when they can be a lot more compelling if they painted a picture of expectations and results.”

For example, the responsibilities for a Controller or a Director of Sales can pretty much be assumed, she explains, so the important thing to do is to emphasize how well you performed your job by giving the results you produced.

Forcing Keywords and Cramming Information

No one will be able to read your resume if you’ve tried to cram in too much information in eight point font, and no one wants to read that much anyway. If you try to stuff your resume with keywords, the live human recruiters who still have to scan it will not be impressed.

"By far the biggest resume mistake is overloading your resume with information. Keep it simple and focus on experience and accomplishments. Don't overload your resume with keywords in hope of passing a keyword search by a potential employer," says Agility Group HR consultant Stephen Murray.

Making Spelling and Grammar Mistakes


Paying attention to your periods and commas could mean the difference between a call back and never hearing anything. Proofread it one more time before you send it off.

A perfectly written resume could even be your competitive edge, says Keith Wolf, managing director of Murray Resources. "As simple as they may be to avoid, spelling errors and typos are the most common mistakes we see in resumes. They're particularly damaging because they convey to potential employers that an applicant lacks attention to detail."

Straying Into the Irrelevant

You don’t need to put everything you’ve ever done in your working life on your resume. In fact, too much irrelevant work history could obscure the parts of your resume that demonstrate your worth and usefulness to an employer's company, says career management coach Laura Rose.

"One of the common mistakes is feeling that the resume has to include every job and task in chronological order,” she says. That’s especially true for people who’ve had many jobs across a number of industries.

Not Being Yourself

If your personality gets lost beneath all the business jargon and tired cliches, employers might be throwing your resume into the rejection pile because it doesn’t resonate with them and highlight that you’d be a perfect fit for their company.

"Re-frame your thinking for resume writing: Think of it as an instruction manual for how an employer can make the best of what you have to offer, or write from the context of already having the job and reminding the person of why they hired you,” says career counselor Sabrina Ali.

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