Top 5 resume mistakes to avoid

5 biggest resume mistakes, according to Harvard experts—and examples of  what to do

While we may regularly think about the state of our resume, it plays a critical role in securing new job opportunities when it’s time to hit the job market. 

Writing a standout resume can help impress potential employers and secure an interview. 

A resume is usually the very first impression a potential employer will have of you, so it is critical that your resume correctly showcases your skills, experiences and overall fit for the company and specific role.

While resumes are a potent tool for securing new job opportunities, it is also easy to make mistakes that can lead to missed opportunities. 

In this blog post, we jump into the top five resume mistakes to avoid and how DES employment services can help you craft the perfect resume. 

Poor formatting 

Again, we can’t express enough that your resume will likely be the very first impression your future employer will have of you. 

Naturally, if your resume is poorly structured and disorganised, this will poorly represent you.

By submitting a resume that’s hard to read and poorly organised, you might end up missing out on great opportunities. 

So, let’s think about what happens with a resume. 

Usually, resumes are all passed along to hiring managers, these hiring managers are used to seeing hundreds of resumes, so it is pretty safe to assume the first thing they do is skim the resumes. 

During the skimming process, the hiring managers will look to see if any potential candidates are a good fit for the role and the company.

So the more clearly your skills and experience are displayed, the better. 

Our top tips:

  1. Keep the layout simple and consistent.
  2. Use one font type, use bullet points for readability, and ensure your contact information, education and work experience are clearly outlined.
  3. Don’t include unnecessarily lengthy paragraphs or inconsistent formatting. 

Including irrelevant information

While it’s natural to want to include all of your achievements on your resume, it is not the place where you want to be cramming too much unnecessary information. 

Ideally, your resume should be edited for each position you apply for. 

This allows you to adjust the included information to suit the needs of each employer. 

While for some positions, it may be beneficial to include your hobbies, primarily if they are related to the company or the specific position you are applying for.

For other roles, this may make your resume appear overcrowded and out of place. 

Our top tip: Showcase your most relevant experiences, skills and achievements that relate best to the position you are applying for. 

Only include personal hobbies and interests if they are relevant to the role, and try to highlight your experiences and skills that best align with the job description. 

On that note, always thoroughly read the job description before applying. This way, you can tailor your resume to the employer’s needs. 

Neglecting to include relevant keywords 

The world is changing, and technology is taking over. 

In the digital age, many companies may use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that actually screen your resumes before a human even sees them. 

Often these systems will scan for keywords that are related to the position. 

This is why a broad resume is not the best move for progressing to the next stage of employment. 

Instead, you should carefully read the job description to comprehensively understand the job requirements and hiring process before submitting your application.

Our top tip: Incorporate keywords from the job description into your resume. 

There is an art to this and keyword jamming isn’t the best move. Instead, incorporate keywords that actually apply to you, your experiences and your skills. 

This can help to increase the chances of your resume being approved by an ATS system and being read by an actual human. 

Not being specific 

Remember, employers are reading your resume to try and understand how you can best fit into their company. 

While it can be tempting to use vague language, quantifying your achievements and providing specific examples or results from previous positions is more personal and effective. 

For example, “hard-working” may be quantified by giving a testimonial of a prior employer or by including your specific achievements within an earlier role. 

Our top tip: Try to be specific about your achievements rather than making vague, sweeping comments. 

An example might be “increased sales by 20% during this busy period” or “received ten personalised online reviews for friendly service”. 

Forgetting to proofread 

Nobody nails a resume the first time — we all need to proofread. 

Unfortunately, mistakes on our resumes can send the wrong message to a hiring manager, so it’s very important to proofread your work properly. 

There are plenty of online resources that you can use to check for typos or grammatical errors. 

Our top tip: Read your work out loud. This is a great way to catch any mistakes. On top of that, consider asking a trusted friend or family member to glance over your resume. 

If you’re living with injury, illness or disability, working with a professional Disability Employment Service Provider (DES) can greatly improve your resume’s quality. 

These organisations have plenty of experience helping people put together compelling resumes, regardless of their previous work experience. 

By working with a Disability Employment Service (DES) provider, you will have somebody in your court to help avoid common mistakes made in resumes and authentically showcase your skills and experiences.

Remember, your resume is kind of like a business card, allowing you to connect with potential employers and show what type of person you are. 

Whether you are looking for additional support to improve your resume or are looking for employment opportunities, Disability Employment Service providers are available to support you on your journey.  

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