En Route: A Career Blog

5 Deadly Resume Mistakes

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: ,
POSTED: July 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

Watched a YouTube video that details the author’s take on the worst mistakes any candidate can make on a resume. The video posed some good points that I’d like to share and expand upon.

1. Using Someone Else’s Copy for Your Resume

I have to admit, this is a first for me. I never considered that anyone would take another person’s resume and copy it for their own use. With resume samples all over the internet, I suppose it’s happening quite frequently. Not a good thing for these reasons:

  • While some of the experience may match yours, not all will. Therefore, you may inadvertently include tasks that you don’t do or can’t do. 
  • If someone else gets the ‘bright’ idea to do this, the hiring manager may very well wonder why two resumes, from two different individuals, are mirror images of each other.
  • The plagiarized resume may have typos, spelling/grammatical errors that you haven’t caught. This will definitely decrease your chances of being called in for an interview.

It’s better to play it safe and create your own resume. Or have a professional create one for you – a document that’s unique and markets you alone.

Editors Note: Countless studies have shown that professionally-written resumes get more interviews. Compare Resume Writing and Resume Editing to see which of our services is right for you.

2. Using the Same Resume for Every Position

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resume. Just as there are no jobs that are absolutely identical to each other. Every resume must be tailored to every position. It sounds like a lot of work – and it is – however, those candidates who take the time to tailor their resumes cut their job search by months, perhaps years in this poor economy. Using keywords from the job posting will also ensure that you get past the company’s tracking software and that a human being actually reads your resume.

3. Failure to Detail Work Experience and Accomplishments

If you’re in administrative support and you write a cryptic resume that states – “answer phones”, “file”, “greet clients”, “schedule appointments” – don’t expect to be called in for an interview. What you’ve described is what every single admin person does. It doesn’t set you apart. You need to show results of your tasks. If you don’t, the hiring manager will conclude that you simply did your job, collected a paycheck, and called it a day. No one wants to hire someone like that. Every hiring manager is looking for someone who will make the company money or save it money. It’s far better to write: “Increased productivity 35% by reorganizing filing system” or “Decreased client complaints 40% by answering customer concerns in a timely manner and resolving issues as quickly as possible.” That kind of proactive attitude will win you the interview and get you hired.

4. Not Understanding Social Media

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can help you in your job search. However, social media – especially Facebook – can harm you greatly if you’re not careful. Hiring managers are savvy. When someone applies for a position, one of the first things a hiring manager does is check out the applicant’s internet presence. If you’ve posted photos of yourself guzzling booze at parties or making salty/politically incorrect comments, then you won’t be considered for the job. Do yourself a favor before you apply anywhere – Google your name and make certain nothing is online that can harm you. Take down your Facebook page if you have to. Nothing’s a secret any longer. Be aware – be prepared.

5. Lying on Your Resume

There was a time before LinkedIn when a candidate could pretty much state anything and it was fairly difficult to determine if that person was lying or not. No more. If you have a LinkedIn profile – and you should – you had better not lie on it. Your colleagues, friends and co-workers will see immediately that you’ve fudged the truth. They won’t appreciate it. Neither will a hiring manager. Most industries are fairly insular – a bubble, if you will. Within that bubble, you’ll be known as a liar and no one will invite you to interview.

It’s hard enough to get an interview and a job these days. Don’t make the process worse by ignoring these points.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

» Read Full Bio

Sign Up for the En Route Newsletter

Career articles, resume advice, and interview tips delivered every month!

Propel Your Career

Get to the next level faster with professional Resume Writing or Editing products.

My writer cared about me as an individual. She educated me on why my last resume did not produce the results I desired--in a construtive way. I am very satisfied with all her efforts. She did a terrific job!

— Phillip T.
Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations
California
» See All Testimonials

We're Busy Little Bees

279
Resumes Written This Month
100,000
Resumes Written Since 1998