The Top Five Common Resume Mistakes

January 20, 2015


In my private practice I review resumes every day and every day I see the same mistakes being made. These mistakes may seem minor but they are easy to correct, once you know to look for them.oops

These five mistakes are not in any particular order of importance, and are as follows:

  1. Including an Objective instead of a Career Summary or Profile.

An Objective tells an employer what you want; a Summary tells an employer what you have to offer. Employers are interested in what you can do for them, not what you want from them. The Summary does a better job of marketing you than your Objective. In fact, a well-written Summary should include a job title which speaks to your focus and key skills and characteristics tailored to the job description. The Summary should spark the interest of your reader, encouraging them to explore your resume in greater depth.

  1. Forgetting consistency in dates.

Consistent formatting is key to resume readability. People forget that consistency in formatting applies to the dates as well as the rest of their content! Some people mix Em dashes which are longer – and regular dashes – . Sometimes people put the word ‘to’ between the years. Regardless of which you select, make sure they are consistent and that your dates are in the same place on your resume.

  1. Writing a one page resume.

Because the resume is a history of your accomplishments for the last ten to fifteen years, you can’t market yourself fully with your accomplishments and all the other sections in your resume in just one page. Most employers look for a two page resume at the very least. It has become the norm.

  1. Using paragraphs instead of bullets.

In your experience section, after a brief job description, you want to provide bulleted accomplishment statements that include an action and the results of your actions. Bullets make it easier to scan your resume plus create a more streamlined presentation. The language of the resume is very concise; each word needs to work for you. These accomplishments showcase results rather than just duties, the difference you can make to the employer’s company.

  1. Putting in the line References Available upon Request.

This line is unnecessary and takes up valuable real estate on the resume. Resume reviewers know that you will provide references; usually they will ask for these on a separate sheet of paper when they are very interested in you.

Next time you put a resume together avoid these common mistakes, let your resume work to present you in the best possible way!

Aly AnlikerAly Anliker, Ed.M

Aly is a creative organizational and career consultant with over fifteen years of experience in Training Management, Executive Coaching and Instructional Design. She has a background in Human Resources and Marketing and has worked in a variety of industries including telecommunications, high technology, manufacturing and non-profit.

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One Comment on “The Top Five Common Resume Mistakes”

  1. Rachelle Says:

    These pointers are so good, simple fixes that can spruce up the resume! Sometimes it us hard to know what’s normal or acceptable and more importantly preferred! Thanks Aly!


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