Expert Advice: 13 Most Common Resume Mistakes

Tiffany Cruz is an experienced resume writer and editor at Power Writers USA and has been hired more than 485 times (!) on Thumbtack
Ready for a career change this year? Then it’s time to dust off that resume. We spoke to Tiffany Cruz, a resume writer and editor at Power Writers USA, to find out the most common mistakes most people make on their resumes. Read on to see which ones you’re guilty of and why hiring someone to help you with yours might be a good idea.

1. Forgetting the Resume’s Purpose

“The resume is a tool used to help you get an interview,” Cruz says. “It should be a high level overview of your accomplishments and what you’ve been doing professionally. You’re using it to capture the hiring manager’s attention, so you want to keep that person’s point of view in mind.” She advises you leave out things that may be too specific or detailed. “Once you’re in the interview, then you can go into the day-to-day aspects of your responsibilities.”

2. Not Making Your Name Stand out

Cruz says it’s crucial to make sure your name really jumps off the page. “I advise my clients to make their name bold and large—between a 22 and 28 font size, so that the person reviewing the resume remembers it.”

3. Including an Objective

“Objectives aren’t very common anymore,” Cruz says. “I see them once in a while, but I don’t think they’re useful in terms of getting you an interview.”

4. Spelling and Grammar Errors

“Make sure to dot the i’s and cross the t’s,” Cruz advises. “If you’re writing your own resume, get a second set of eyes on it.” Not only will that person be able to provide recommendations about improvements you may want to make, there’s also a good chance she’ll spot any typos you missed.

5. Using a Crazy Font

“You want the hiring manager to see your resume the way you set it up regardless of how they open the file,” Cruz says. “So it’s important to use a universal font, like Times New Roman or Arial. Yes, those fonts are a little more straightforward and boring, but a universal font gives the resume a refined and professional look.

6. Forgetting the Basics

Put your name, physical address, email address, and phone number at the top of your resume. “You’d be surprised how many people forget to put a phone number on there,” she says. “And then they wonder why no one’s calling to set up interviews.”

7. Leaving Out Some of Your Education

Sure, you remember to put your formal education on your resume, but Cruz says you want to be sure to include any type of education that’s relevant to the job. “If you’ve taken additional training courses that might potentially relate to the job, that should go on there.”

8. Using a Passive Voice

Use action verbs to relay your accomplishments and achievements. Instead of writing “I am responsible for x, y, and z,” choose verbs like managed, coordinated, assisted, and performed.” Cruz says, “You may only have a couple of seconds to catch the hiring manager’s attention when they’re skimming through that stack of resumes. It’s really important to use words that will make them take notice.”

9. Not Paying Attention to Formatting

“Formatting is really important,” Cruz says. “Is it symmetrical? Is it nice to look at? Make sure you’re putting the same information for each job in the same place. Then, when it’s finished, print it out and look at it from a few feet of way. When you’re in a stack of 50 other resumes, you want yours to be eye catching.” In fact, she says, consider bolding certain words or phrases to make them stand out.

10. Omitting Basic Information

Cruz says, “Make sure you’re including the company name, city and state, and dates you worked on your resume.” Leaving that stuff out just gives the hiring manager more work to do and no one wants more work.

11. Including Your Hobbies

A resume’s purpose is to show a potential employer your skills and abilities. Or as Cruz says, “No one is going to bring you into an interview because you’re awesome.” That means unless your hobby is directly related to the field in which you’re applying, leave it off your resume. Same rules apply for volunteer work, which Cruz says is better off being mentioned in the interview if it seems applicable.

12. Keeping It to Just One Page

“If you have an amazing career, don’t stop at one page,” Cruz says. “A two page resume is fine.” That being said, you don’t want to go back any further than 15 or 20 years. “If you have over 30 years of experience in the industry, put that in a summary towards the top,” Cruz suggests.

13. Leaving Out Quantifiable Numbers

“People love to see numbers,” Cruz says, so look for ways to quantify your accomplishments. Whether it’s sales numbers, that you’re managing a staff of five, or showing that you’ve met your annual goals, numbers are a great way to break up the monotony of reading text.

If you’re actively looking for a new job, a qualified resume writer and editor can help you create a resume and cover letter that will reflect who you are and your accomplishments, look professional, and most of all: help you land the interview. And she can do it in a fraction of the time it would take you. Find a pro on Thumbtack to help you get your dream job in 2016.

Tiffany Cruz is the owner of Power Writers USA. You can hire her to help you with your resume via Thumbtack or on her website.

Bonus tip!  Reach out to an industry recruiter and have them take a look at your completed resume.  They may be able to offer some constructive feedback.  Plus, networking with recruiters while you are looking for a new job can really help your job search.

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!