7 Common Resume Mistakes Every Job Seeker Should Avoid

No one said writing your resume would be easy.

There are so many rules out there that affect your resume’s chances of making it into a hiring manager’s hands, it’s tough for the average worker to keep up!

Luckily, there are professional services like TopResume that will review your resume – for free! – and help you craft an application that’s sure to impress employers.

But, before you submit your resume for a free evaluation, here are seven common resume mistakes most job seekers make and what you can do to avoid them.

Using an Unprofessional Email Address

Sure, seemed hilarious when you were younger, but it’s not the best choice to represent your brand today. The same goes for shared family accounts such as and email addresses that could be considered offensive or racy by employers. Do yourself a favor and create a free address with a provider like Gmail that’s used exclusively for your job-search activities.

Including Too Much History

Employers care most about your recent work experience and how that relates to the requirements of their open position. If you’re further along in your career, restrict the work history section on your resume to the most recent 15 years and remove the dates from any degrees, certifications or awards that fall outside that time period.

Using “I” or “Me”

While it’s okay to talk about yourself in the first person in your LinkedIn profile summary, this practice doesn’t hold true for your resume. Play it safe by not using “I” or “me” in your resume. Also, don’t refer to yourself in the third person (e.g. “Andrew has seven years of hands-on experience… he is seeking opportunities to…”). It just sounds odd. Instead, use what we call the absent or silent first person throughout your resume. For example, “Heavy Maintenance Technician with seven years of hands-on experience…”

Overlooking Typos

While this may seem obvious, you wouldn’t believe how many resumes we come across with misspellings and other obvious grammatical errors! Before you submit your resume for a position, re-read it. Then read it again, starting from the bottom of the document and working your way back up. Then, have your friend who majored in English proofread your resume one more time. While spellcheck will usually pick up on misspellings like “exprience,” it won’t necessarily know when you should have used “to” instead of “two.”

Using Dense Paragraphs or Endless Bullets

According to experts, the average recruiter reviews a resume for six seconds before deciding if the applicant is worth closer review. When you have so little time to catch an employer’s eye, it’s important that your resume’s format makes it easy to scan for important pieces of information.

Avoid including dense blocks of text. You don’t want the reader’s eyes to glaze over! The same thing goes for long lists of bullet points. Bullets are a great way to draw the reader’s eye toward key pieces of information, but when everything is bulleted, that ability is lost.

Getting Too Personal

There’s no need to include personal details on your resume such as your marital status, nationality or spiritual beliefs. In fact, it’s illegal for an employer to even ask for this information. Also, there’s no need to include your hobbies outside of work. Unless these activities help qualify you for the job, you’re just wasting space and the recruiter’s time.

Providing References

You typically get two pages of resume real estate to work with – and only one page if you’re new to the workforce! Don’t waste that precious space by listing out your references or including a line such as “References available upon request” at the bottom of your resume. Employers ask for that information once they decide to bring you in for an interview, and they know you’ll provide your references when requested.

About the Author:

Amanda Augustine is TopResume’s resident career advice expert. She is a certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW) with over 10 years of experience in the recruiting industry, helping professionals improve their careers and find the right job sooner. Follow Amanda at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and like her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute advice.

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  • 24 Feb, 2017
  • Danielle Benson

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