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12 Most Common Resume Mistakes

12 Most Common Resume Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

1. Too Long or Too Short

Creating a resume is a process that requires carefulness in balancing many factors. One of the biggest challenges when designing a resume is determining the ideal length of the resume. A resume that is too long may affect recruiters in a less favorable way, as recruiters have limited time to read every resume submitted. Conversely, a resume that is too short may not be sufficient to effectively explain all the experiences and qualifications you have.

A resume that is too long can make recruiters feel bored and frustrated. They might think that you are being overly detailed or unable to convey information clearly and concisely. A large amount of information can overshadow important points and divert attention from your most relevant and impressive qualifications.

2. Messy Layout

A messy layout can give the impression that you do not pay attention to detail or are not serious about applying for the job. For example, using more than one font type in your resume can indicate inconsistency and lack of professionalism. You may use different font sizes to divide information sections, but if it is excessive, it will create a cluttered and confusing appearance for recruiters.

The use of colors is also important in resume layout. Using colors that are too striking or excessive can make the resume look unprofessional and distract the reader. It is best to use colors wisely, sticking to one or two neutral colors. Therefore, neatness, consistency, and professionalism in the layout will help create a good impression and make it easier for recruiters to understand the information you convey in your resume.

3. Lack of Relevant Information

Take your time to carefully read the job description and then make a list of all the skills, experience, and qualifications required. Now, if possible, try to match these points with your own experience and skills in your resume. If you have been a project manager but are applying for a job as a writer, your project management experience may not be relevant and can be eliminated or shortened.

The lack of relevant information not only means wasting valuable space but also weakens your resume. Employers may think that you do not understand the job well or that you do not have the required qualifications. So, use the valuable space in your resume wisely and focus on the things that make you the perfect candidate for the job. Avoid being too general or including irrelevant information. Customization is the key to success in creating an effective resume.

4. Punctuation and Spelling Errors

The misuse of punctuation and spelling errors in a resume not only reflects poorly on your writing skills but can also impact the recruiter's perception of your attention to detail. This is undesirable, especially in professions that require strong written communication abilities and precision in every detail. These mistakes may be seen as an indication that you might also be careless in tasks and job responsibilities.

Therefore, instead of underestimating the importance of proper punctuation and spelling, utilize them as tools to enhance your professional credibility. Make use of grammar and spell-checking tools available, such as Grammarly, to help you double-check your resume. Don't hesitate to seek assistance from colleagues or mentors to review and provide feedback on your resume. With the right approach and sufficient attention, your resume will be free from punctuation, spelling, and grammar errors that could jeopardize your opportunities.

5. Inappropriate Language Use

It is important to have a good understanding of appropriate language nuances in the professional world. For example, a resume submitted to a technology startup company does not always have to be written in formal standard language. However, in this context, informal does not mean you are free to use slang or overly casual writing styles. Therefore, use polite and professional language that reflects your qualities and integrity as a prospective employee.

On the other hand, if you are applying for a job in a company or organization with a more conservative work culture, such as financial institutions or the legal field, emphasis on formal language may be more encouraged. However, being more formal does not mean you have to make your resume appear rigid or boring. You can still use smart and concise language to convey the necessary information. Using the appropriate language in your resume will demonstrate that you understand and comprehend the industry culture you are targeting.

6. Inconsistency in Dates

When listing your work history on your resume, one of the most important details to include is the start and end dates of your employment at each place. This provides an easy and immediate insight for potential employers into how long you have spent in a particular position and company. Inconsistency in dates can raise doubts and unnecessary questions.

The formatting of dates is also important to consider. For example, are you using a month-year format (May 2016-August 2019) or just the years (2016-2019)? Whichever option you choose, it is important to keep it consistent throughout the resume. Employers appreciate accuracy and attention to detail, and consistency in date formatting will also help them read and understand your work history more easily.

7. Lack of Specific Job Descriptions

Many individuals tend to underestimate the importance of providing specific job descriptions in their resume and end up only listing generic job descriptions. For example, a salesperson may simply write that their responsibility is to "sell products". However, such descriptions do not provide a clear picture of what they actually do. Instead, if they were to mention that they "increased sales by 20% within a 6-month period" or "led the sales team to achieve monthly targets", this would give a much better idea of their capabilities and achievements.

Furthermore, emphasizing on specific achievements and responsibilities in your resume not only helps recruiters gain a better understanding of your experience and skills, but also allows them to see how you can contribute to their company. For instance, if you have experience in improving operational efficiency by 30%, this indicates that you have the ability to organize and prioritize work effectively. Including such information in your resume will enhance your chances of being sought after by companies in need of such skills. Therefore, it is always important to explain in detail and specifically about your work experience in your resume.

8. Excessive Emphasis on Routine Tasks

For example, if you work as a cashier, it is not enough to simply write that you serve customers and manage transactions. Using generic phrases like "performing routine tasks as a cashier" will not make you stand out or impress recruiters. You need to explain the results of your work in a broader context.

Provide details on how you improved cashier efficiency or worked in a highly busy environment while maintaining excellent customer service. Perhaps you proposed an idea or procedure that reduced customer waiting time. This is an accomplishment that should be highlighted. By providing context and showing tangible results of your work, you will demonstrate to recruiters that you truly add value in your job.

9. Lack of Skills Clarity

Many individuals simply list their skills on their resume, such as "proficient in negotiation" or "good communication skills" without providing specific examples or evidence of their application. This approach is ineffective and can make employers skeptical about the authenticity of your skills claims.

Instead, such a skills list would be more beneficial if accompanied by concrete examples. For instance, if you mention that you are proficient in negotiation, provide an example of a situation where you successfully negotiated a beneficial deal for your previous company. If you claim to be a good communicator, provide an illustration of how your communication skills helped resolve a problem in the workplace. This will give a more comprehensive overview of how these skills actually function in a work context. By proving that your skills have a positive impact, you are more likely to capture the attention of employers.

10. Lack of References or Testimonials

A resume without references or testimonials often appears less appealing to employers. This is because references or testimonials are seen as a type of 'proof' or endorsement of the quality and abilities of a job applicant. Testimonials or positive feedback from previous supervisors or colleagues can provide a clearer picture of your competencies, work ethic, and interpersonal skills in a work environment.

References or testimonials can help strengthen other points expressed in the resume, such as work experience, education, and skills. For example, if you claim to have excellent communication skills, a testimonial from a previous supervisor acknowledging your communication prowess will help validate that claim. Therefore, adding references or testimonials to your resume not only provides additional validation but also enhances its appeal.

11. Mentioning Salary or Expected Salary

In resume writing, information about salary is not a detail that needs to be included. The main reason is that salary is not an indicator of success or competence in your job. Your current salary or the salary you expect may reflect your own value or assessment, but it does not provide an accurate picture of your capabilities or qualifications. Therefore, it is very important to focus on points that can describe your experience, skills, and achievements.

Moreover, discussing salary too early in the job application process can backfire. In many cases, salary discussions are usually saved until the interview stage, when the job applicant and employer have a better understanding of what each party offers. Mentioning your salary expectations too early can exclude you from consideration if the amount you ask for is too high, or it may disadvantage you if the amount you ask for is too low. Therefore, avoiding mentioning salary information in your resume is the wisest approach.

12. Excessive Personal Information

The inclusion of excessive personal information, such as ID numbers, marital status, or religion, can potentially be a source of discrimination in the selection process. Whether consciously or unconsciously, recruiters may consider these personal aspects in the selection process, which should not affect how we can fulfill tasks and responsibilities in the workplace.

In addition, including such information also poses a risk of personal data misuse. Therefore, it is best to only provide information that is truly needed by the company, such as name, contact information, email, and address. It should be remembered that a resume is a concise summary of our life history with a focus on listing relevant work experience, education, and skills related to the position we are applying for.


Adjustment, accuracy, and professionalism are key in creating an effective and appealing resume. Every detail can shape the employer's first impression of you, which is why it is important to avoid the common mistakes outlined above. Therefore, focus on relevant experiences and skills, use appropriate and professional language, provide examples and evidence of your skill claims, and avoid listing unnecessary or potentially discriminatory information.

Remember that a perfect resume is one that successfully conveys why you are the most suitable candidate for the position. So, always customize and update your resume according to the position and company you are targeting. By doing so, you will not only be able to avoid common mistakes in resume writing, but also increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Good luck and always be successful!

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