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10 reasons why your resume landed in the trash

Resume writing can be a tedious and difficult task. While worrying whether or not you have a real shot at the job, you’re simultaneously stressing out about what to include, how to list your experience and potential grammar or spelling mistakes. That’s why it’s a good idea not to rush the resume writing process. While reviewing your resume, it’s imperative to check for any of the following common resume mistakes which will automatically eliminate you from a shortlist of eligible candidates.


10 common resume mistakes

1. You misspelled something

Spelling errors occur from time to time, but not on a resume. A resume is a document that should be given more thought and care than anything else that you do professionally. Spelling something wrong on your resume reflects negligence, poor judgement and laziness. It doesn’t take much of an effort to run your resume through spell-check and reread the document three separate times. Have a trusted friend or parent check for spelling too, just for good measure.


2. You included work experience that isn’t applicable or is short-term

There are certain jobs that you really don’t need to include on a resume, like fast-food jobs or babysitting. However, if you have no relevant experience whatsoever, go ahead and include your summer at Shake Shack. Always remember to highlight how that experience could be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Also, jobs that lasted just a few months don’t need to be listed, unless they are directly related to the job you’re applying for.


3. It was over a page long

There’s no need for a resume to run over two pages long. Format the document so that everything fits onto one sheet and take out experience that isn’t relevant to the position. Making the font a little smaller (though legible) and widening the margins will help you get everything onto one page.


common resume mistakes


4. You included hobbies

Unless specifically asked, your personal life is excess information on your resume and is unprofessional to include. The only exception is if you have a hobby that is directly related to a position that you’re applying for. For example, you maintain a personal travel blog and you’re applying for a writing position.


5. You used personal pronouns

Resumes require a very specific writing style. Because it’s a resume, it’s implied that the work experience is yours so there is no need to say “I managed communications for a non-profit.” It should just read, “Managed communications for a non-profit.”


6. You misused present or past tense

The rule is pretty simple. If you’re listing a job that you’re currently at, job duties should be listed in the present tense. For all the work experience that you’ve already completed, use past tense since it’s already happened.


7. You got too creative

Your resume is not a performance piece. Elle Woods doesn’t exist in the real world and a pink and scented resume is far more obnoxious than endearing (and it definitely won’t earn respect). A resume is a representation of you as a professional, not a person.


8. You included your GPA

If you’ve graduated college over three 3 years ago or your score wasn’t above a 3.8, don’t include a GPA (unless otherwise asked).


common resume mistakes


9. There are formatting errors

Resumes can be tricky in terms of formatting and getting everything squeezed onto one page. Take a look at our template for a good layout. Make sure everything on your resume is uniform before you submit an application. All words should be in the same font. The same items should be italicized if you decide to italicize one element of your resume. Each item on the resume should also start at the same margin each time.


10. Grammar issues

Like with spelling, grammar errors are fatal to a resume. They reflect laziness and poor reading and writing skills. Do a few grammar checks and have a friend or two take a look before you send your resume out.




Photo 1. based on Old Records, by Jem Yoshioka, CC-by-SA 2.0

Photo 2. based on #wastebasket #wicker #trash #papers #homework #white #target #hipster #filter #followsback #doubletap #swag #amazing #boredness #swagmaster #smile by @james_overstreet was liked by the outdoor wicker furniture experts!, by Wicker Paradise, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Curriculum Vitae, by Desi, CC-by-2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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