If a potential employer is going through stacks upon stacks of resumes (as most recruiters do), then they are most likely going to put yours into one of two piles right away: the “yes” pile or the “no” pile. The “no” pile is for resumes that they will scan over and then put aside. The “yes” pile is for resumes that are worth a closer look.
1. Typos and grammatical errors
If your potential employer sees that you don’t know how to use spell check or grammar check properly, they won’t feel confident that you will do well on the job either! Misspellings and incorrect grammar are going to make you appear unprofessional and careless. Make sure that every single word is spelled correctly and has proper grammar before submitting it! You can even use tools such as Grammarly to make sure every word is spelled correctly. Your resume is one of those things that you should have someone else proofread for you. We’re all guilty of making mistakes from time to time, but your resume should be free of as many of them as possible. Remember that recruiters are looking for reasons to say no to you, and spelling and grammar errors are often a big reason.
2. Too long
Let’s face it, nobody wants to read a resume with endless amounts of text and not enough white space! You only have a limited amount of space on your resume, and you want to get your point across while not wasting valuable space either. A one-page resume is typically more than enough, unless there is some reason why it cannot be condensed down further or if you have decades of experience and need to show that. Three pages is about the maximum amount of information a recruiter wants to see; beyond that will likely get your resume put into the “No” pile!
There is absolutely no reason why anyone would want to hire someone who lied on their resume! If a potential employer finds out that something on your resume isn’t real, they will likely stop looking at any other information on your resume and throw it into a “No” pile right away!
4. Poor formatting
Bullets are very important when it comes to resumes because they make it easier for someone who may be skimming through your resume to digest all of the information that they are seeing at one time instead of having a paragraph full of text with no breaks at all.
5. Including a photo of yourself
It may seem like a good idea to include a photo of yourself on your resume in order to make it stand out, but there are many reasons why this is actually a bad idea. Unless you are a model or actor, don’t include photos on your resume. The only time that this might be acceptable (depending on your industry) would be if you are applying for a modelling or acting job. While it may seem cool to include a photo, the reality is that it only serves to take away from the rest of your resume.
6. Saying “References available on request”
This phrase may look innocent enough, but it could actually ruin your chances of getting an interview with many companies. In fact, the only people who will want references from you are those who will likely hire you. If you don’t have references, then leave it out! References should be provided at the same time as submitting your application so that you don’t lose out on a job opportunity if you don’t hear back from the hiring manager regarding your application.
7. Using fancy fonts
If you’re applying for a job in an office environment, then your resume should be written in a standard legible font. Using a fancy font with different colours will make your resume stand out, but it may not be in a good way. Recruiters are going to think that you’re trying to be artistic when you should be focused on getting the job. Use a standard font that’s easy to read! Another thing to note is that recruiter usually expect your resume to be in black and white, so it may not look as good as you want it to if you print it out in colour.
8. Including slang or abbreviations
If you’re an experienced professional, then you’ve probably grown accustomed to using abbreviations, acronyms and slang in your day to day life. However, this isn’t the case for every recruiter and hiring manager. Some recruiters may not know what your abbreviated words mean, and if they can’t read your resume properly, then they won’t be able to see whether or not you’re a good fit for the company.
9. Anything that could be considered controversial
You should definitely avoid anything that could potentially be controversial. As long as it’s somewhat relevant to your job history, then it shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but if it’s not relevant, don’t include it! For example, if you were a part of a protest that had nothing to do with your resume, there’s no need to include it.
10. Being overly descriptive
This can easily be one of the most common pitfalls for many candidates who are writing their first resume! If your potential employer is looking at your resume they are most likely looking for some very specific information such as how many years of experience you have in a certain field or what types of skills and qualifications they can expect from you if they were to hire you for the job. Avoid being overly descriptive and simply include the facts. Recruiters will call or interview you if they want to discuss points on your resume in greater detail.