6 Common Resume Blunders to Avoid

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Your resume is your first impression on employers so making sure you send them a 100% error-free resume is one step closer to getting your foot in the door. There are probably dozens of mistakes a job seeker can make when writing a resume, but here are the six I’ve been seeing most frequently.

Spelling Mistakes

Never, never, never rely on spell check. Grammar mistakes are probably the biggest blunders job seekers can make on a resume and more often than not they do the quickest damage.  Always have another pair of eyes look at your resume before sending it out. Sometimes we get too close to it and miss common errors others could catch in seconds.  Don’t let it happen to you.

Email Errors

Always double check that your email is correct.  When working in programs like InDesign or Photoshop, and even Word, it’s amazing how easy it is for errors to go unnoticed.  You also want to avoid using your work email.  Your current company could be monitoring you without you knowing. And forget using those cutesy emails and emails no one would bother looking at because they mistake it for spam.  Create a simple email that has your name in it, that way no one can mistake it’s really you.

Fluff Phrases

Most times, the professional summary is the most difficult section for job seekers. We often think, “How should I be describing myself? and fluff phrases like “good communicator” and “creative thinker” comes to mind.  It’s best to avoid these types of phrases. What is it really telling an employer? Nothing of real importance.  They sound good but think of how many other job seekers are writing that as well.  You want to stand out from the pack, not blend in.

Too Much Information

Job seekers often forget for whom they are writing.  You’re not writing a college essay for your professor, you’re writing a to-the-point resume showcasing your skills and achievements.  Stick to short bullet points making it easy for the hiring manager to skim through.  Including too much information and irrelevant information is going to put your resume in the no-go pile.

Passive Voice

Most people have a tendency to write in the passive voice, especially when composing their resumes. Passive voice – “responsible for”, “duties included”, etc. – is weak writing. Resumes need to be powerful sales pitches and passive voice doesn’t persuade the reader to hire that passive job candidate. Make sure your resume is written in active voice with industry keywords throughout the content.

Poor Design

In an age where computers let you go crazy with design, it only works when you actually know how to design.  I’ve seen countless resumes where inexperienced Photoshop and Indesign users try to create a more appealing document and it never ends in their favor.  Stick to simplicity unless you have a design friend who is willing to help you.  But also remember that creatively designed resumes belong in creative industries.

What resume mistakes have you seen the most?  Let us know in the comments.


  1. says

    As a recruiter and resume consultant, I’d say not giving enough detail is one error, and believing a “word” listed as a “competency” with no context is a “keyword”. It’s not.

  2. Craig says

    You say that “fluff phrases” such as, ““good communicator” and “creative thinker” should be avoided. Fair enough – but some examples of alternatives you recommend *should* be used instead would be more helpful.


  1. […] the applicants. To help you make sure that your resume is the best that it can be, check out this article on common mistakes from doostang.com and this article on writing impactful statements by Don […]

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