Most Common Resume Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

About two weeks ago — I posted my resumes(before I secured my internship in 2020 and after completing my Microsoft internship in preparation for full-time recruiting) on my Instagram. I pointed out a couple of mistakes and how I could have made my resume better. I also offered to review a couple of resumes — I am highlighting some of the most common mistakes I saw in those resumes to help you avoid them.

Highlights:

  1. Readability: The information on your resume is crucial, and the ability for a hiring manager or recruiter to read it is equally as important. Use proper font sizes and fonts. Also, it’s good practice to leave a space before major sections (Experience, leadership, etc.)
  2. Sensitive Information: Avoid information like your full address etc. (City and State should suffice). No age, gender, religion etc
  3. Summary / Objective: I have said this numerous times in the past; I am anti summary because I do not believe it offers a lot value, and the space could be used to highlight more impactful things (skills, experience and more). HOWEVER, if you decide to have one, that’s fine. Ensure you are using those 2–3 lines as best as you can. Writing things like “multi-tasker, team player, communicator, etc.” are not impactful; instead, showcase those soft skills in your experience.
  4. Dates/Company : Formatting matters a lot, ensure all your dates are right-aligned and consistent with the same format.
  5. Graduation date (graduates): If you have graduated and are now working, your experiences carry more weight; moving your education to the bottom of your resume is good practice.
  6. Relevant coursework: Take out numbers like I & II — just writing Physics or any subject is fine as is, “Chemistry 1” somewhat sells you short. Take out any “intro” and leave the course so “Intro to microeconomics = microeconomics.” You can tell the extent or the level of expertise you have during the interview or at a screen.
  7. Bullet points : This was the most common mistake and probably the most critical part — Show your result and impact for every bullet point. Talk about what you did, how you did it (including skills involved technical or nontechnical), and the result/impact. Use numbers too — quantify things (impact matters)
  8. Action items that begin your bullet points: Resume writing is a form of storytelling, and choosing the right words is essential. Google great action verbs to use on your resume and apply those whenever you start a sentence. Avoid words like worked, helped, stayed etc. and look at words in the company of spearheaded, executed and more.
  9. Skills section: Add your technical skills, software and languages etc. Any soft skill, “time management, teamwork etc.” should be implied in your experiences. Back it up.
  10. Skills (part 2 ): One common mistake people make is to list a bunch of skills but not include them anywhere in their experiences, projects or leadership section. That is one way to demonstrate that you have those skills and can use them.
  11. Format: Except you are sending your resume for review, send a PDF vs. a word document. When you send a doc format, your resume formatting can get distorted depending on the reviewer’s laptop or the doc format they have.
  12. Information: There is such a thing as way too much on a resume that it becomes tough to read. Your resume should be targeted to specific jobs, not one resume with all your info for every job. This strategy will help you be more concise, readable and help your resume match a specific job description more closely.
  13. Length: The no brainer; one-page resume if you have less than 10 years of experience :)

As always, may the force be with you, champ!

For more career content, check out my Instagram and LinkedIn

Cheers,
Olaseni Adeniji (#senispeaks)

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Olaseni Adeniji

Olaseni Adeniji

512 Followers

I write about product management, career and life :) | For more content @senispeaks on Instagram | My opinions are my own