Common Resume Mistakes and Ways to Fix Them

 In Resume Advice

Biggest resume mistakes? You’ve heard these mentioned before. Let’s check again to make sure you can start editing your resume now in line with the latest industry practices.

✘ Objective statement

⇨ Replace it with a career summary that focuses on your key strengths (4-6 lines).

✘ Half pages

⇨ Use full pages for better visual quality. If you have extra space, add a text box with a testimonial from a supervisor or a graph illustrating your measurable results. If a few lines are carrying over the next page, cut self-evident descriptions of duties in a few places and edit orphan words.

✘ The same career summary for every target role

⇨ Optimize the top part of your resume with a few top keywords from your latest target job for ATS compatibility. Address the top requirements from the job description in your career summary paragraph.

✘ Long bullet points lists

⇨ Balance career entries for readability. Start with a paragraph of general duties and specific scope of work. Then, add your top 5 achievements as bullet points. Categorize bullet points (Team Leadership, Strategic Planning, Process Improvement, etc.) if you have a longer list of achievements.

✘ Contact information in MS Word header/footer

⇨ Place it as regular text that the hiring manager can easily copy and paste. Check your contact information for accuracy. Prefer a Gmail address with a professional-sounding alias to older email systems like

✘ Full postal address listed

⇨ For privacy, remove the street address. Use City, State, and postal code only.

✘ LinkedIn URL has extra characters

⇨ Customize it following the instructions here.

✘ Repeated use of verbs like “led”, “managed”, or “created”

⇨ Look up powerful resume verbs to be more precise. Avoid repetition.

✘ Are you “detail-oriented” or “result-oriented”?

⇨ Edit out the clichés. Find a more specific way to describe yourself. What soft skills have helped you achieve success in the workplace so far? What makes you stand out? What have you been complimented for most often?

✘ Repeated job descriptions across several roles

⇨ Jobs may have been similar, but your performance was not. Never repeat the same line on the resume. Focus on your results in each role.

✘ No links, graphs, or text boxes

⇨ Balance the cognitive load for your reader with a few visual elements. Links to your online portfolio or articles about you or your employers in the press are welcome. So are quotes about your work or graphs illustrating your performance in numbers.

✘ Listing all of your early roles

⇨ Condense roles that are 10-15+ years old. Choose the most relevant information about these roles and remove the dates if applicable.

✘ References available upon request

⇨ Don’t waste your resume space for this. Create a separate references sheet with a few quotes and contact details of your references.

✘ Convoluted sentences

⇨ If you had a few seconds to skim your resume, how soon would you start skipping sentences or longer parts of the text and getting distracted? Use language that is clear and precise.

Reprinted from a LinkedIn article “Common Resume Mistakes and Ways to Fix Them”

About the author:

Tanya Mykhaylychenko provides resume writing and career strategy services for executives. Connect with her on LinkedIn for networking tips and ideas on executive career development.

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