Career Trends: 10 Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid

4 min read

Edition: January 14th, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS


Even the most experienced professionals still find themselves guilty of making resume mistakes. (Image Credit: Canva)

When searching for a job, your resume is an important factor for a potential employer to determine your fit for the role. Learning about some of the common challenges and mistakes in writing a resume can help you create a more compelling document that hiring managers will want to read.

Even the most experienced professionals still find themselves guilty of making resume mistakes. 

Here are 10 mistakes that you should avoid making in your resume, fixing these things will lead to a drastic level up in your resume-

1. Lack of clear headings.

  • Hiring managers rely on your resume layout (header and section headings) to find relevant information.
  • As such, vague or lengthy headings can make it difficult for them to understand your resume.
  • For better results, keep your resume headings simple, short, and outstanding (underlined or bolded).

2. A one-size-fits-all approach.

  • While it’s vital to have a master resume (a repository for all your professional information), you should also have different resumes for different purposes.
  • The resume for a copywriting job, for instance, should differ from the one for a social media job.
  • Targeting a resume for an opportunity by including only relevant details depicts you as an individual willing to take the extra mile.

3. An ‘objective’ section.

  • Avoid having a resume section explaining how you’re seeking a position that will develop your managerial skills.
  • Sadly, this doesn’t tell an employer anything positive about your professional skills.
  • Replace it with a professional summary that showcases your value proposition in 1-3 lines.

4. Use of personal pronouns in your experiences.

  • People often repeatedly use personal pronouns [“I,” “my,” “me].
  • The justification for this was, “but the resume is about me, isn’t it?”
  • Indeed, the resume is yours, but it’s meant to act as an impersonal description of your professional makeup.
  • Keep your resume business-focused by removing all personal pronouns or articles.

5. Listing every online certificate.

  • Some people list all the online courses a person has taken in their resume.
  • Ordinarily, this should be a helpful move as it portrays the individual as a lifelong learner. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
  • Delete irrelevant or beginner-level certificates from your resume.
  • List only the credentials that taught you high-value skills applicable to the potential job.

6. Citing Microsoft Suite as a skill.

  • When you enumerate Microsoft Office under the skill section, the employer automatically assumes you can build formulas in Excel, merge mails, and create automated “rules” in Outlook.
  • Except you’re not capable of these.
  • Remove Microsoft Office from your resume and instead put the specific platforms that you know in Microsoft Office.
  • Else, your Microsoft Office low proficiency level might get exposed in the interview stage or while on the job.

7. Grammatical blunders.

  • An error-filled resume can prevent you from getting interviewed.
  • While a misspelling or typo doesn’t determine your expertise, it does characterise you as someone who doesn’t pay attention to details.
  • This is a red flag for businesses. 
  • According to Fast Company, 75% of employers said they would reject a candidate if they found grammatical errors or typos in the résumé.

8. Lying on your resume.

  • Some people lie on their resumes in a bid to impress recruiters or make up for their lack of experience.
  • While you can be creative when writing a resume, you shouldn’t channel your creativity into lies or embellishments.
  • Soon, your lies often catch up with you at the interview stage or while you’re on the job, which may lead to termination.
  • As an alternative to lying, cover up for your professional loopholes by updating your skill set, taking more volunteering roles, and handling more projects.

9. Poor formatting.

  • Formatting elements such as margin size can make your resume jumbled up and bland.
  • When you commit any of these mistakes, an employer might be forced to question your capacity. 
  • Make your resume margins one-inch on all sides to ensure excellent formatting.

10. Badly organised work history.

  • When you don’t organise your past positions in reverse-chronological order, your resume reads as hocus-pocus to the recruiter, preventing them from seeing your point.
  • To be safe, either begin with your most recent position and proceed backward, or focus on your skills and link them to apposite experience.

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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