Resume Mistakes to Avoid

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Your resume is your advertisement. Imagine your resume on top of a recruiter’s desk along with fifty other candidates’ resumes. Your resume is doing two jobs at once. It’s advertising your skillsets and qualifications while also trying to deliver a message about why you’re the best person for the role.

Just like body language communicates a non-verbal message, what you choose to include and how you choose to include it – from formatting to wording – is sending a message about the type of worker you may be. Luckily, the career consultants at ResumeSpice – a leading provider of resume and cover letter writing, interview prep, LinkedIn consulting, and career coaching – know what recruiters are looking for and how to communicate your skills effectively within your resume.

Below are some possible reasons why your resume might be getting passed over.

Poor Formatting

Have you ever seen an advertisement that had too many elements happening at once, which made it hard to focus? Poor formatting functions the same way for recruiters. When recruiters look at your “ad,” they want to immediately know what your product or skills are and how they can benefit the company. The more “work” they have to do deciphering your resume, the less likely it is to make it to the next round. Keep your formatting simple and clean.


Have you ever seen a cell phone provider tout technical specs while trying to sell you a phone? Not typically – and for good reason. To most consumers, technical language might as well be a foreign tongue. On your resume, avoid using jargon. It’s likely that the first person to view your resume is going to be an HR representative or other non-technical professional. For more technical roles, such as IT and Engineering, make sure to spell out acronyms.

Length – Too Long, Too Short

There’s a reason radio and TV advertisements are roughly 30 seconds or less. They need to grab your attention. The same goes for your resume. If it’s way too long, recruiters and hiring managers are not going to read it. If it’s too short, it’s probably not highlighting your skills as well as it could. How long should it be? Depends on your background. If you’re a new grad or have fewer than two years of experience, a one page resume should suffice. A longer career likely needs two pages and in some cases, a three page resume is necessary. If you’re not sure, ask us!  

Lack of Quantifiable Information

No product would ever be bought if its advertising didn’t answer a fundamental question: how will this help me? Adding quantifiable information to your resume is a great way to show exactly what you’re capable of accomplishing and how you will help the organization you’re trying to join.

If you increased sales by 30%, list it on your resume. If you implemented a software that cut down cycle time on a process and improved output by 40%, it needs to be on your resume. This is the type of information that will let employers know how your skills and talents can help them achieve their goals.

Including Photos and Graphics

This is one way your resume is not like an advertisement. There are a few reasons why it’s better to leave these off. The first is that it detracts from the clean, simple resume we discussed above.

The second is that unless you are a graphic designer or other creative professional you are not being hired for your formatting skills. Your relevant experience and skills are the product hiring managers are looking to acquire.

Hopefully the pointers above help you avoid some common resume mistakes. Still have questions? The career consultants at ResumeSpice want to make sure your resume does its job for you. Contact us today at 832.930.7378!