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7 Deadly Mistakes That Land Your Resume in the Trash Heap

Don’t want your resume to end up in the recycling bin?

Avoid these seven deadly mistakes.

They make recruiters want to punch their computer screens.

If you’re looking for a job, that’s not the reaction you want!

Photo of a resume, desk, laptop.

Source: Pexels

  1. Don’t use illustrations, charts or graphs. Here’s the deal: most job sites make your resume searchable so either the image disappears (making your resume look weird) or causes an error. Creative resumes are great when you’re meeting a potential employer in person. Otherwise, AVOID. See the SKILLS section in the picture above? Looks awesome, right? Don’t do it.
  2. Don’t use fancy, unreadable fonts. I see this a lot with designers and creative folks. If you use a fancy font that’s not standard, it’s likely that your resume will get scanned but not read. Keep it simple: your audience wants to know what you’ve accomplished, not whether you have good taste in fonts. Keep it Simple.
  3. Don’t add your photo to your resume. You think it makes you stand out from the competition. Sometimes it can cause someone to judge you based on your looks, not on your skills. The exception to this is if you are applying to be an actor or performer.
  4. Don’t put your education before your experience section. The only exception to this rule is if you’re still in college. Even then, I’m hoping you have worked in the summer or as a teaching assistant. Employers first want to know what you can do for them. Anyone can sit in a classroom and attend a lecture. Show them how you’ve applied your knowledge, skills, and expertise to get results.
  5. Don’t use passive words or passive voice. Use active verbs so the person reading your resume senses you get things done, you get results, and you make things happen. The best way to check this is to read out your resume like an actor reading lines on stage, and see if it feels energetic.
  6. Don’t take credit for everything. While you want to talk about your accomplishments, you want to do it in a way that shows you are a team player. The person reading your resume is judging that too.
  7. Don’t go on about your volunteering and personal interests. I recently saw a resume that had a longer section about a candidate’s volunteering work than her experience. While you may be very active in your community (and that’s great), only mention a few things you do outside of work. For example, “Organized the Special Olympics Gala and helped raise over $20,000 in donations” or “Cooked 244 meals at 6 local homeless shelters over 10 years”. This shows your skills — in a different context, and it’s impressive!


Best of luck – and remember if you have questions, ask below. 

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