Fatal Resume Errors

Our recruiters submitted what they found to be the most common resume mistakes. Use these tips to avoid making fatal errors in your resume:


Poor grammar, typos, misspellings, font style and size etc. A sloppy resume says you’re careless and/or lack attention to detail.  Keep in mind that if your audience is older (think mid/upper management) they may struggle to read a resume that has an unusual font style or the font size is too small.

Overkill. The goal would be to limit your resume to no more than two pages.  Exceptions would be for those who have extensive publications.

Vagueness. Quantify your results. Don’t state: “Responsible for supervising 300 employees.” Instead say: “Managed the marketing department, which increased revenues 82 percent in a four-year period.”  Hiring authorities are highly interested in quantified results.  Be prepared to answer “how” you achieved those results once you’re in an interview.

Plagiarism.  Never copy anyone else’s content or copy and paste job descriptions into your resume.

Colored paper. Any color other than white is unacceptable. Colored paper does not copy well and your resume may be distributed to multiple people.

Tiresome details. If you’re well into your career, skip those college summer jobs. As you advance in age and up the corporate ladder, pare down your resume. Nobody really cares that you worked your way through college waiting tables, especially when you’re applying for an executive position with a securities firm.

Lying. First, you don’t lie because it’s wrong. Second, you don’t lie because if you get caught, you won’t get the job. Third, when you get caught after being hired, you could lose your job (it happens more often than you realize).

Omitting your job objective. State clearly what you’re looking for AND are qualified to do. Ambiguity indicates you have a lack direction and focus.

Listing your job objective. Note that this contradicts the previous point. Some headhunters think a job objective limits the candidate. If the exact position isn’t available within the organization, the candidate automatically eliminates him or herself from a job. Do your homework in advance to be sure your job objective matches an open position before including it in the resume. If there are several positions that, for which you are qualified to do and are of interest to you, do not include your objective.