The 8 Most Annoying and Repetitive Mistakes Found in Resumes


The 8 Most Annoying and Repetitive Mistakes Found in Resumes

The 8 Most Annoying and Repetitive Mistakes Found in Resumes
The 8 Most Annoying and Repetitive Mistakes Found in Resumes – image via

Resumes are a big deal, as so many people who are currently looking for a job can attest to. But as it turns out, a lot of job-seekers out there don’t really give resumes their full attention when they’re writing theirs.

Ever since she launched Résumé Writers’ Ink in 2010, Tina Nicolai has read over 40,000 resumes. And no one can do 40,000 of something without getting quite good at it. In any case, she is willing to point out eight mistakes she came across on more than one occasion.

1. Sloppiness

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)

This one can’t really come as a surprise to anyone. In a competitive job market, the tiniest detail counts.

“The biggest mistake job seekers make: They are sloppy. They pay poor attention to detail. They are lazy!” she sais.

2. Summaries that are too long

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)

“If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.”George Orwell on writing

You should always keep your summaries just that; a summary. It might seem short to you but CV readers go through countless resumes a day. So, if you really want someone to read your summary then make it really short.

“After a while, the summaries can read like a lengthy chapter in a book. It’s better to list a few bullets with pointed achievements and a branded tag line stating, ‘known for achieving XYZ,'” said Nicolai.

3. Too many buzzwords

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)

Résumé jargon such as “out-of-the-box,” “team player,” and “exceptional communicator” are “baseline expectations in today’s market,” Nicolai says. “A person who truly is a ‘unique problem solver who works well in teams’ will convey this succinctly and creatively on their resumes through a combination of few words and imagery.”

4. Starting a bullet point with ‘Responsible for’

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)

“Candidates need to understand that starting a sentence with ‘responsible for’ tells the reader what the job requirements were supposed to be, but it does not state that the candidate actually performed the functions,” Nicolai says. “It does not state that the candidate was successful in these functions. Don’t be lazy: Take the extra few minutes to explain what you accomplished — not what you were expected to accomplish.”

5. Being too formal

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)


Yes, there is such a thing as being too formal when writing resumes. There are two main reasons for this. For starters, you will not stand out from the crowd in any way whatsoever. And secondly, the reader will not be able to get a sense of your personality. The more you present yourself as a relatable human being, the likelier it is to get an interview. Probably don’t overdo it with the informality, though.

6. Sticking to a template

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)

What this means is that CV templates are all over the internet and freely downloadable. This is all fine and good, but this doesn’t mean that people should follow each one to the letter. You should tailor it to suit and highlight your own character and achievements, and not just fill in the blanks simply because they’re there.

“Templates are designed as a guide and not intended to be used as a cookie cutter,” she told Business Insider. “Think of a template as a suit. A person wears a suit and adapts to his or her personal style. A résumé template is a framework to showcase your personal brand and most importantly your achievements.”

7. Using awkward white space

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)

“More often than not, candidates use too much or too little ‘white space,'” she said in an email. “Cramming too many words on one page with tiny margins and small font is annoying. And, on the reverse, having oceans of ‘white space’ with words justified to one side or the other of the resume is equally annoying.”

Think of your CV as, well, marketing for yourself. Design means a lot here.

8. Taking up too much space with your contact information

(Áine Cain/Business Insider)

This one makes a lot of sense. While your personal info, like the phone number or your e-mail, are important if the reader decides to contact you, they don’t really carry any weight when your CV is first picked up. And since this info is all located at the very top of the first page – arguably the first place people look at on resumes – then you should be filling that space up with more valuable information.

“Save face by removing the address and condensing your name, phone number, and email to one line,” Nicolai said in an email. “Using your resume real estate (lines) is valuable and should be used for related achievements.