5 Resume Mistakes


Filling a job vacancy usually involves sorting through hundreds of resumes before deciding which candidate to interview. The problem is that most hiring managers only spend a few seconds looking at a resume before moving on to the next. This can lead to interviewing unqualified candidates, a process that wastes time and builds frustration.

The fact is that it takes more than a few seconds to really understand a candidate. However, if you don’t have time to spend 10 minutes on every resume, it’s vital to at least use those precious seconds to weed out the wrong candidates. Learn about several of the most telling resume mistakes and red flags to watch for so you reduce the time you spend pursuing the wrong candidate.

1. Grammatical Mistakes

There are several common grammatical resume mistakes, including the following:

● Incorrect verb usage and punctuation
● Verbosity and/or run-on sentences
● Misuse of homonyms (e.g. to, two, and too; then and than)

Grammatical and spelling mistakes on a resume are extremely telling. The reason may be lack of motivation, laziness, or poor language skills, depending on the candidate. Regardless of the reason, grammatical mistakes indicate a jobseeker who is not right for the job.

2. Lack of Content and Organization

Before even looking at the details of job history and education, you can learn things about the candidate from the organization of the resume. Are some of the work experience entries missing dates? Is the education section incomplete? These can indicate someone who may be trying to hide something or simply lacks good professional judgment.

You should also look out for too much of the wrong kind of content. According to MightyRecruiter, use of crazy or distracting fonts, graphics, colors, or non-standard templates is not a good sign. Likewise, excessive information about personal interests or details not related to the job can indicate a person without enough career experience or someone who doesn’t have a solid understanding of a professional environment.

3. No Career Progression

A qualified candidate should show a clear career progression of moving up the corporate ladder and gaining more professional responsibility. A candidate with a stagnant career history or a string of short jobs at multiple companies is most likely not a qualified candidate worthy of pursuit.

4. Unprofessional Email and Online Presence

Fortunately, it doesn’t take more than a few seconds to catch this red flag. Steer clear of any candidates without a professional email address. This includes shared email accounts, juvenile or cute names, and offensive or innuendo-filled email addresses. It shows that either the candidate doesn’t understand the need for a professional address or didn’t take the time to create one.

It’s also important to spend a few minutes researching the candidate’s online profile. The internet contains a wealth of information about a person’s professional and personal life. You may consider looking at a candidate’s social media profile, online portfolio, and published body of work. A person’s online presence can give a lot of insight into his or her positive and negative qualities. It can also be used in some cases to verify or disprove information included on the resume.

5. Lacking or Incorrect Intangibles

The intangibles of a resume can indicate the candidate’s personality, hobbies, interests, and character traits such as work ethic and honesty. These things are called intangibles because they aren’t explicitly spelled out on a resume. However, you can determine a few things by looking at mistakes and inclusions. For example, writing style can indicate a tendency to brag or exaggerate. Participation in extracurricular activities can be useful information especially for recent graduates without a lot of work experience. Depending on the way the resume is written, you may be able to determine a candidate’s ability to solve problems and focus on results.

One of the easiest ways for recruiters to weed out unqualified candidates is looking for resume mistakes. Even small things such as an unprofessional email address can indicate a candidate’s lack of professional judgment or simple laziness. Once you eliminate the wrong jobseekers, you will have more time to spend on the resumes of qualified candidates.

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