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Blog>Guides>9 Mistakes to Never Make on Your Resume

9 Mistakes to Never Make on Your Resume

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You may have heard stories of job seekers who send out hundreds of resumes and never get an interview or hear back from an employer. If you’ve been looking for work, you may have even experienced this yourself.

If you’ve been applying for work and never seem to get anywhere, it may not be because you lack experience or qualifications. It may boil down to some simple mistakes you’ve been making on your resume.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common mistakes job seekers make on their resume so you can avoid them in the future. By implementing our resume advice, you'll quickly vault to the top of potential candidate lists in no time.

1. Not Tailoring Your Social Media Accounts

Seventy percent of employers will check out your social media page, so you need to be careful about what you share. When looking for work, make sure your social media accounts reflect that. You can do this by:

  • Highlighting some of your work experience
  • Saying that you are open to new opportunities
  • Sharing industry-related links
Social media icons on phone.

If you have any work-related examples or references, share those too.

Also, be careful not to overshare. You should only link to necessary social media accounts. Your LinkedIn profile is the most obvious one, while Twitter can be good for highlighting your achievements. However, a potential employer may be less interested in the content you’ve shared on Pinterest and Instagram.

One final social media tip: many of us say things on social media that we sometimes wish we hadn’t. Give your social media history a quick scan. Take down any content that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. While this tip may not fall under common resume mistakes, it's absolutely vital to getting that job you've always wanted.

2. Using Buzzwords

What are buzzwords? Buzzwords are defined as, “an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning, used chiefly to impress laymen.”

Computer open to a resume.

Many job seekers make the mistake of featuring these overused words in their resumes. While this technique is intended to help applicants stand out, it often makes them sound like every other applicant.

If you’re unsure which words to remove from your resume, CNBC has a list of the most common buzzwords. In 2023, the words to avoid were:

  1. Specialized
  2. Skilled
  3. Strategic
  4. Motivated
  5. Passionate
  6. Creative
  7. Experienced

It’s easy to let a few buzzwords slip into your resume or cover letter. While a few here and there won’t get your resume tossed immediately, stuffing buzzwords unnaturally will definitely get noticed and raise red flags with employers. Take a quick look at your resume and see if you can cut out any overused buzzwords. Instead, when writing a good resume, focus on your unique skills and what makes you the perfect applicant.

3. Not Showing Your Accomplishments

Too many of us are reluctant to talk about our achievements. As a job seeker, this means you may focus too much on your role and everyday duties. Downplaying your experience may feel safer, but it won’t help you stand out. Your resume and cover letter are an opportunity to take pride in your accomplishments and shine a light on your achievements — being overly boastful may rub employers the wrong way, but being too humble can also result in being passed over for the job.

Young woman signing contracts and having a handshake with manager.

Detailing your achievements shows a potential employer that you’ve gone beyond the everyday purpose of your job. They show the contribution you have made in the past and what benefits you can bring to their company.

Use the achievements part of your resume to detail practical achievements and explain how you:

  • Overcame any challenges during a project
  • Benefited your employer
  • Went above and beyond regular duties to deliver for your employer
  • Contributed to various projects

Also, make sure to include details of any promotions, recognitions, or praise you may have received from your employer or other staff.

4. Spelling and Grammatical Errors

If you’ve ever tried to edit your own work, you’ll know how difficult it is to see your own mistakes. Even if you’ve read something over a few times, it’s easy to miss the most obvious of errors. If you're wondering how to improve a resume, this is the easiest way.

Manager looking over resumes and pointing at one.

While spelling and grammatical mistakes don’t matter so much in everyday messages, in a job application, they may be enough to get you ignored by an employer. However, there are a few ways to make editing easier:

  • Print off your resume. It’s easier to spot errors on paper than on screen.
  • Leave reading your resume for at least 24 hours. You’ll spot more mistakes with fresh eyes.
  • Read your resume backward (it’s not as hard as it sounds).
  • Get a friend to read it over.
  • Get it professionally edited or written by a resume writer.

5. Not Including Your Skills at the Top of the Page

At the top of your resume, detail:

  • Specializations
  • Technical skills
  • Specific achievements
Interview over a computer.

This will enable an employer to see whether you’re a good fit without reading through your entire resume. Considering you only have an average of six seconds to make a good first impression, stating your skills boldly and promptly can make all the difference.

6. Not Tailoring Your Resume

If you’re sending out hundreds of resumes, it saves time to use a template. However, if you want to get the attention of an employer, you need to tailor it for each position. Look at the job description and make sure your resume matches.

Businessman reviewing resumes.

To do this, make sure of the following:

  • Use the keywords that the employer has used
  • Bullet the required skills
  • Answer questions the employer has asked in their job advert
  • Emphasize your relevant career history
  • Add in any relevant voluntary work, qualifications, and pastimes

Not only will this show an employer why you would be a good fit, but it also shows that you’ve read the job description and aren’t sending the same resume to every available opportunity.

7. Adding Your Aims

There are mixed opinions on whether to include your aims in your resume. Some experts are clear that your objectives don’t belong there, so you'll sometimes find them under lists that advise what not to include in a resume. After all, does a potential employer really want to know what your personal goals are? They’re more likely to want to know how you can help them reach the company’s goals.

Examiner reading a resume during a job interview.

For this reason, a professional summary may be a better approach. A summary statement makes an immediate impact on your potential employer. In it, you can detail:

  • Strengths
  • Achievements
  • Qualifications
  • Experience

Remember, your potential employer will have plenty of other resumes to look at. Keep your summary short, to the point, and tailor it to the job position.

8. Using Modifiers and Adverbs

Although it’s not the worst mistake you can make on your resume, excessive use of modifiers and adverbs can weaken your application. Instead of modifiers and adverbs, be more descriptive.

Young man using laptop computer.

Detailing specific achievements, like how you saved the company a significant amount of money, gives the employer a better idea of what you’re capable of. Instead of adding overused words like “successful,” give examples of why you succeeded in your role.

Detailing achievements through specific examples rather than flashy words shows a potential employer the value you can add to their team.

9. Not Showing Off Your Skills

Skills like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint are good to have. However, in a crowded market, they’re not enough to make you stand out. Office software is so widely available that it’s not unusual to have these skills.

Closeup of someone coding on screen.

Instead, highlight the skills that will actually get the attention of a recruiter and are relevant for the job.

These can include:

  • Google Analytics
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Developer tools like Java
  • Website development experience

Also, be sure to use practical examples where you can.

Avoid Common Resume Mistakes, Stand Out in a Crowded Job Market

You may think you’re the perfect person for the job, but so will many other job seekers. Although you have the experience, the qualifications, and the ambition, you may make some common mistakes that get your resume rejected at first glance.

Once you’ve optimized your social media pages and tailored your resume, look at it to see how you can make your resume stand out from everyone else. Think about your personal achievements and detail those. Give examples where you can.

Finally, always get someone to read the resume over in case you’ve made obvious spelling or grammar mistakes. They’ll catch mistakes you never even knew were there.

And when all of your goods are up to par, turn to reliable companies to help you find the perfect position. At Joblist, we combine all postings from leading job boards so that you can see millions of available opportunities at your fingertips, in one place. Use our search tool to see personalized results and set daily alerts so you never miss a new opening. That perfect job is out there — and we’ll help you find it.

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