5 Common Resume Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Writing updated on  June 19, 2023 4 min read

A resume is your gateway to securing your dream job. It contains all the information a person needs for you to get hired, so it is only natural for you to want to perfect your resume. It is important to present yourself in the most professional way possible and in the best possible light. Hence, you need to make sure to avoid common resume mistakes pertaining to formatting, clarity, language, and content.

No one has the “perfect” resume; from entry-level candidates to consummate professionals, you will always find areas for improvement, but what’s important is that you clearly demonstrate what you are good at and avoid the basic resume mistakes that can cost you a fortune!

Did you know it takes only about six to seven seconds for a recruiter to shortlist your resume, so there is very little room for error as it is the first point of contact with your prospective employer.

Here is a list of some common mistakes to avoid while making your resume.

  1. Lack of organization and clarity
  2. Grammatical errors
  3. Lack of quantifiable achievements
  4. Lack of keywords and action verbs
  5. Inconsistent length

1. Lack of organization and clarity

Lack of organization and clarity in your resume can make the recruiter disinterested in what you offer, and it also shows no attention to detail, which can impact your recruitment chances.

Your resume needs to be easy to read and understand. Having a well-organized resume can help the employer walk through your professional journey without making it seem like tedious work.

Every resume format/template has the following sections:

  • Professional experience - your previous industry experience
  • Education - schools and colleges you have attended
  • Certification - course-specific certifications, research papers, and licenses
  • Skills and achievements - soft skills and hard skills
  • Contact information - phone number and email addresses

It is important to arrange your details—with your most recent experience first—in chronological order and mention everything that is relevant to your role.

Always prioritize relevant information that highlights your achievements and skills in your resume. Some ways to organize your resume are:

  • To use bullet points and clear headings
  • To avoid large paragraphs
  • To use concise language
  • To have a consistent format
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2. Grammatical errors

To err is human, but never on your resume!

Spelling and grammatical errors are some of the most common resume mistakes you can make, which is why it is important to watch out for minor mistakes as you craft your resume. Overlooking spelling and sentence structures can jeopardize your recruitment chances, so here are some ways to go completely grammar nazi on your resume:

  • Proofread your resume to make sure it is free of typos, repetitions, and misspelled words.
  • Run your resume through a grammar checker.
  • Get your resume reviewed by another individual as a measure of double-checking.

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3. Lack of quantifiable achievements

Listing job responsibilities and previous roles held is not enough; it is important to emphasize your goals and targets so that they provide evidence for your capabilities and all the hard work you have invested. For example:

instead of writing “Completed XYZ task in Q4 in 2022”, you should write “Overachieved x% of the targets in Q4 in 2022.”

Quantifying your achievements and providing numerical values to prove the work that you have done shows better credibility. Use monetary values to show profits, timespans, and percentages to prove the effectiveness and efficiency of your work.

4. Lack of keywords and action verbs

Keywords are everything—if you work in marketing, you would know!

Similarly, with resumes, it is important to highlight value-adding keywords that are specific to the role that you are applying for and relevant to the job description. Generally, resumes go through an applicant tracking system (ATS) that recruiters use to scan resumes for certain keywords.

So, you must incorporate relevant keywords into your resume to move one step further through the tracking system!

Action verbs are words that convey your performance; a resume should be rife with action verbs to provide backing for all the work you have done.

Some examples of action verbs are:

  • Evaluated
  • Conducted
  • Coordinated
  • Guided
  • Developed
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5. Inconsistent length

A resume should never be too long or too short. The ideal length of a resume lies between 1-2 pages long, with all the relevant information fitting in consistently. Always avoid excessive information that can overwhelm the reader and deviate from the main purpose of the resume.

It is also important to format your resume to maintain coherency. Some ways to maintain formatting your resume are:

  • Have a consistent font size and type.
  • Maintain a format for the headings, section titles and bullet points.
  • Use the same font color throughout your resume.

Lastly, remember to update your resume from time to time with any new skills you may have learned and reflect on your recent job roles and achievements.

Avoiding these common resume mistakes can help you get a resume worth sending out to your dream companies! Learning, experimenting, and understanding how to describe your skills in a most dynamic way, considering the fast-paced world, is an important factor in standing out. To unlock your true potential in learning and crafting persuasive resumes, take advantage of the various resources and opportunities available at the learning hub provided by Amber Student Accommodation.

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Madhura Ballal

Along with Mitchell Allen

Madhura Ballal is an avid marketer, a postgraduate from NUS, and a Content Writer at amber, a leading student housing provider for students studying in the UK, the USA, and Australia.

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