Avoid the Top 10 Resume Blunders

Avoid the Top 10 Resume Blunders

Designing a resume can be tedious. But what if your resume is tedious to read?

Peter Vogt /

November 02, 2007

It’s deceptively easy to make mistakes on your resume and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. So prevention is critical, especially if you’ve never written one before. Here are the most common pitfalls and how you can avoid them.

1. Typos and Grammatical Errors

Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn’t, employers will read between the lines and draw not-so-flattering conclusions about you, like: “This person can’t write,” or “This person obviously doesn’t care.”

2. Lack of Specifics

Employers need to understand what you’ve done and accomplished. For example:

● Worked with employees in a restaurant setting.
● Recruited, hired, trained and supervised more than 20 employees in a restaurant with $2 million in annual sales.

Both of these phrases could describe the same person, but clearly the second one’s details and specifics will more likely grab an employer’s attention.

3. Attempting One Size Fits All

Whenever you try to develop a one-size-fits-all resume to send to all employers, you almost always end up with something employers will toss in the recycle bin. Employers want you to write a resume specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.

4. Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments

It’s easy to slip into a mode where you simply start listing job duties on your resume. For example:

● Attended group meetings and recorded minutes.
● Worked with children in a day-care setting.
● Updated departmental files.

Employers, however, don’t care so much about what you’ve done as what you’ve accomplished in your various activities. They’re looking for statements more like these:

● Used laptop computer to record weekly meeting minutes and compiled them in a Microsoft Word-based file for future organizational reference.
● Developed three daily activities for preschool-age children and prepared them for a 10-minute holiday program performance.
● Reorganized 10 years’ worth of unwieldy files, making them easily accessible to department members.

5. Going on Too Long or Cutting Things Too Short

Despite what you may read or hear, there are no real rules governing the length of your resume. Why? Because human beings, who have different preferences and expectations where resumes are concerned, will be reading it.

That doesn’t mean you should start sending out five-page resumes, of course. Generally speaking, you usually need to limit yourself to a maximum of two pages. But don’t feel you have to use two pages if one will do. Conversely, don’t cut the meat out of your resume simply to make it conform to an arbitrary one-page standard.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    almost 4 years ago

    Incredibly helpful. A previous employer actually advised me to cut out some of my short term go nowhere jobs because it had made me look like I'd been fired multiple times or unstable somehow. No I see that wasn't such a good idea. It's also good to know that I don't have to squeeze everything into one page.

  • Feeling_creative_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    good info.

  • A_job_well_done_max50


    about 6 years ago


    I'm with Navy1wife!! I made the decision to go back to school to pursue my dream job as a filmmaker and video producer. The schooling has been wonderful and I wouldn't trade it again for anything but I've had so many other "little" jobs just to get through school til if I listed them all it'd look like I'm all over the place. My school schedule is a little lighter now and I'd like to get back to being the outstanding AAII that I am. Any suggestions on how to bring up 8 years of AA experience after a 4 year break???

  • Picture_006_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Boy! I have seen some very poor resumes and sure enough I put them in file 13, why waste time to peruse nonsence.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    over 6 years ago

    I cannot tell you how much I hate writing my resume. I've have drafted it so many times because everyone I ask has a different opinion about it. HELP!
    I appreciate the article because I'm job hunting for an MA position and it's hard to find- especially as a newbie. I haven't had to look for a job in 3 yrs. These past few months seem to be dragging on forever. Any suggestions on cover letters?

  • Me4_max50


    over 6 years ago


    You are correct. As a professional resume writer, I have seen my share of recycled resumes. The fact is that today's marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive. You need to stand above the rest. If you're becoming tongue-tied and you just can't seem to put it together, please feel free to contact me. Visit for more information.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago


    Seems that I'm in the same situation as Kpoage - thanks for the information above.

  • Thisisme_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Thank you for this artical. I am in the depths of job hunting right now- and I was wondering why I wasn't getting as many people calling me as I thought I should (ratio of sending out 30- getting 3 calls back). I will go forth and fix!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 7 years ago


    I have a ( as in 1) resume, so this was obviously helpful because I learned that it is important to customize per potential employer. Now I'll have to rethink my resume.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 7 years ago


    Always, always ...use action verbs to highlight your accomplishments. I have an accomplishment 'checklist', that is my bible, that I follow each year to review my accomplishments. Prospective employers want to know what 'value' you brought to your employer, in respect to improvement initiatives, problem solving, revenue growth, savings, or increased efficiency. Toot your own horn. You can find a list on the web of action verbs to translate the skills you bring to the table into the value you will bring to the new employer. If anyone is interested in this checklist, let me know.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 7 years ago

    This is great info. Always have someone proof read it as well. Get honest opinions. See if they would hire based off your resume.

  • Img_2253_max50


    about 7 years ago


    #9 sounds so trivial but is so important - anything that is difficult to read will get passed over in a hurry, no matter how good the content.

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