Career / Find Job

Common Mistakes To Avoid In A Resume (& What To Do Instead)

. 8 min read . Written by Shayri Bhattacharya
Common Mistakes To Avoid In A Resume (& What To Do Instead)

So, here’s the deal. On an average, a recruiter takes 6 seconds to review a resume. And around 70% of recruiters state that certain resume mistakes are deal-breakers, which could cause them to reject a candidate even before they’ve finished reviewing the resume! These are important things to avoid in a resume. While this might sound scary, the good news is that these resume mistakes can easily be rectified. 

Something similar might be happening with you if you’re in that phase of your job hunt where you’ve been emailing your resume to various HRs, only to be disappointed. So it’s time you ended your mailing spree and took a long, hard look at your resume to revamp it to eliminate the common mistakes which you need to avoid making in a resume.

Here’s a list of common mistakes that can be avoided in a resume. So, open your resume in a separate tab and keep tallying! 

Common Resume Mistakes – Freshers

We understand that you’ve just started out; you don’t have a lot of work experience and you are super conscious about that. Well, a good recruiter knows that too, and therefore has their expectations from you in place.

But, in such cases, it becomes all the more important to ensure that your resume is free from cliches and exaggerations.

You’d want to revamp your resume if you see any of the following mistakes in your resume. 

Making Grammatical And Spelling Errors

bad grammar is one of the mistakes you should avoid in a resume and that is what this picture depicts

Bad grammar is often a red flag for a recruiter, and they steer clear of individuals who don’t proofread their resume. No room for grammatical errors in your resume, friends! This is an absolute dealbreaker.

What To Do Instead: We do understand that perfect grammar does not always come naturally to everyone. Thus, you can use applications to help you with writing and grammar while preparing your resume. Grammarly is one of the best applications to solve this problem. You can also reach out to a resume coach  to review your resume. Their inputs are often valuable and actionable.  

You can head to the Kool Kanya Marketplace to get a resume writer or career coach on board at affordable prices. 

Including Irrelevant Details In Paragraph Format 

A resume is the professional story of your life,  true. But, don’t turn it into a novel! 

Writing a long, vague resume is one of the common mistakes to avoid in a resume. Make your resume as concise and easy to read as possible. Write your achievements – scholastic or extracurricular – in the form of bullet points. Don’t go on writing paragraphs about your role. This can turn your resume into a snooze fest that truly no recruiter wants to see.

Furthermore, most companies use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to screen resumes.

These are software applications that scan resumes for some specific keywords in skills, job titles, and educational background.

Writing long, confusing paragraphs is only disadvantageous in this case. 

This is definitely another of the common mistakes to avoid in a resume.

What To Do Instead: Bullet points are the solution to your problem! Highlight the relevant keywords instead of writing long sentences.

Not Customising Your Resume As Per The Job 

Every job role demands a different skill set. As a fresher right out of college, you might be dabbling in various career choices which could be very different from each other. 

A marketing role in a publishing company is very different from a writing position at an e-commerce company. 

If you’re sending the same resume with the same career objectives, skills and interests for these two different roles,  chances are that you wouldn’t get an interview call from either. 

What To Do Instead: Customisation is key! Your resume should be tactfully worded and created. Alter your resume with the correct keywords and include instances where you’ve shown promise with your capacities that are relevant to the particular job role. Remove the ones that aren’t relevant, for they only add length, not value. If you are putting in a short career objective, make sure it adheres to the path that particular job could take you to.

Writing An Insincere Career Objective 

Career objective in a resume

Career objectives are not a necessity in a resume. In fact, some employers say it has become redundant in today’s day and age. If you still want to write a short career objective, make sure you do it right. 

Always avoid writing a half-hearted career objective that is all jargon and no authenticity. Recruiters who have been in the industry for years can easily make out the difference between authenticity and fluff. 

What To Do Instead: Well, some experts say you can actually skip putting in a career objective completely l. This is definitely one option for you to ponder upon as fresher. Often, recruiters understand that freshers do not have their career goals chalked out and are fine with you not presenting a concrete career goal to them. If you do have a goal in place and it is relevant to the job you’re applying for, write it down in precise words. Make sure it’s honest and heartfelt enough to stand out from the crowd!

Including A Non-Professional Email ID 

Well, college is over, and so is the time for those cutesy email IDs.

Having a fancy email ID with your nickname or random buzzwords does not make the cut anymore. In any case, it’s extremely unprofessional to have on your CV so, get rid of it! 

What To Do Instead: Create a new email ID with your name, surname, initials and/or numbers.  In any case, it is important to segregate your work email ID with your informal email ID so that you may use it to register on random websites and e-commerce platforms.

[Continue Reading Below]

How Can You Fill The Employment Gap On Your Resume?

Resume 101: Use These 3 Steps To Add Relevant Keywords And Get Hired

8 Resume Templates For Every Personality (And Where You Can Download Them)

Common Resume Mistakes – Experienced Professionals

Well, you’ve been in the business for a while now. You might be at a juncture where you’re looking to move to greener pastures. Whether it’s a career break or domain burnout, preparing a brilliant resume is one thing that will save you. So, here are 4 common resume mistakes that you need to beware of!

Using Passive Voice

Using passive voice makes a resume boring and monotonous.

More often than not, it fails to showcase enthusiasm. It’s important especially if you’re returning from a career break to assure your recruiters that you are as much of a trailblazer as your competitor with no career break on their CV. 

What To Do Instead: Use active voice to make your sentences pop! Here’s an example: Replace “…our website traffic increased 25% month on month under my watch” with “… I lead my team to achieve a month on month website traffic boost of 25%.” 

Notice the difference? 

Listing Experiences Vaguely 

work experience in a resume

You’ve worked in an organisation for years and contributed significantly to its growth. Why be vague when elucidating that? 

Remember, it’s less about the mechanisms you employed to get a certain result and more about the result itself.

So, be generous and specific about the results. Avoid writing long sentences describing your job role. This is something you talk about in person in your interview. 

What To Do Instead: Use data! Numbers speak louder than words. Use statistics to show the results you achieved and the growth that occurred under your watch. 

If you’re a writer, mention the number of articles you might have written in each genre to show your versatility instead of simply mentioning the topics. It makes you look like a result-oriented person and that is ALWAYS a good thing!

Explaining A Career Gap Wisely 

Is there a career break on your resume? Do not lose your sleep over it. We know it’s scary given how the world we live in defines productivity and success – but you need to own your break.

Filling in insignificant details and activities to make up for a break shows your insecurity about it. Thus, avoid doing so. 

What To Do Instead: Mention how you upskilled during the period or how it helped you grow as a person. For a more detailed understanding of this, read our article

Not Including Your Digital Footprint

Your 2021 Guide To A Career In Digital Marketing

Well, you may have been in the industry for a while and you boast of a decent amount of expertise. But industries are  rapidly changing in the way they identify experts.

Not proving your LinkedIn or other social media information is a common resume mistake you should avoid. 

These are as much a part of your “Contact Details” as your email ID! 

What To Do Instead: Review your digital footprint. Revamp and update your LinkedIn profile. Google and see how your published work ranks. Browse through Google Scholar to check your citations. Work on your digital presence and put that on your resume.

What To Do If You’ve Sent A Resume With An Error

If you’ve emailed a resume by mistake which has grammatical or spelling errors, you can try sending an updated one. In case of a bigger mistake, here’s what you can do: 

  • Correct your resume and name the new document accordingly. This is important to give maximum clarity to the recruiters. 
  • Resend a corrected resume in the same email thread.
  • Take responsibility for the mistake and clearly state which resume you’d want them to consider. Be as clear as possible.
  •  Apologise for the mistake and do not go on to provide an excuse or defence of that. 
  • Keep your fingers crossed and hope it works out! To err is human!  

You’ve got all the tricks up your sleeve. Avoid these very common resume mistakes and follow our tips on what to do instead. You’ll land on the other side of the table, ready to ace your interview. 

Till then, happy job hunting!