9 Glaring Résumé Mistakes Not to Make

Resume MistakesWhile good old paper may seem passé in the digital age, LinkedIn hasn't quite replaced the old-fashioned résumé.

"Résumés are the heartbeat of a career search,” says Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, a career and workplace adviser at Glassdoor. “If done well, your résumé will tell your story and sell you.”

And that hasn't changed with the rise of high-tech options. “Even as technology has advanced and changed the way job seekers find open positions, the résumé remains an integral part of the hiring process,” adds Matt Tarpey, a career adviser with CareerBuilder.

Then again, a less-than-stellar résumé can also work against you. To keep that from happening, we asked Barrett-Poindexter, Tarpey and Maele Hargett, an executive recruiter with Ascendo Resources, to highlight the most egregious résumé mistakes they see over and over—and explain how you can avoid these missteps.

To view the slides in one long list, click into the slideshow and select "list view."

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  • Steven Griswold

    My additions to crank this list to 11?
    - Save your resume as a PDF. This is easily and quickly done with any computer these days and ensures uniform formatting and display. Word .DOC or .DOCX can sometimes look wonky on different platforms, especially if a nonstandard font or template is used. By no means should you ever send it in another format, such as WPS, RTF, or a link to an online resume. If I can’t open your resume, you’re toast.
    - It’s fine to apply for jobs that are technically out of your league – especially if you think you have the chops to take it on. But show a modicum of respect for the hiring party and save your “hail mary” applications. If you have no business applying for the job (read: you don’t meet even the minimum / essential qualifications), all you’re doing is wasting time. Roughly 40% of the applications I received for a position requiring a valid insurance license and 2 years’ experience in the industry showed neither of those.

    • Mike Ouyang

      This is a yes and no. PDFs are clean and do maintain formatting, but recruiters are often required to make formatting changes anyway such as putting their company logo or needing to condense a resume. PDFs makes it difficult for them to make those changes quickly. I would recommend either asking which version they would prefer or send both versions.

      • lookiluke

        Good point!

    • Lisa

      I just read your comments, my additions to crank this list to 11, and can relate to some of these. I really appreciate the info on not applying to jobs that may be out of your league. I have found myself doing this, I guess hoping I would get the chance to move a step up, because I know I can. I forgot how it is to be on the side of having to read all those resume and interviewing, now that I’m the one looking for a job. Sometimes it gets hard to do these after you have applied to so many jobs and nothing. It’s always something, now it is the credit history, and even the criminal background. When the economy was really bad these last five years, it damaged a lot of good peoples great credit beyond our control. That is a really unfair request now. Over fifteen years ago I made some really bad choices and I paid for it dearly over and over for fifteen years. I have made great changes in my life for fifteen years, but I guess I will pay for those mistakes forever. Again I believe unfair request, because I know it makes a different if you get hired or not, they say it won’t effect your chances but it does. And yes I was a business owner. I believe it would be fair to ask any felonies in the last ten years and what kind. Give people a chance to move forward, not back. Thank you.

  • Linda

    The author may want to correct the grammatical error on Slide 9: “There’s two problems here..” should be “There are two problems here…”. “There’s” is a contraction of “There is”, indicating a singular article, contrary to the statement that there are “two problems”, not one.