Top 10 Common Resume Mistakes

Written by: Editorial Staff

October 18, 2011
Filed Under Careers 

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One of the top ten common resume mistakesContributed by Missy Nolan, Top 10 Guru

Stop blaming the economy for your lack of employment.

Yes, the economy could be better – but so could your resume. Yeah, we said it.

If you’re applying for hundreds of jobs – but only getting a handful of interviews – your resume may be the culprit. We also need to talk if you show up to the interviews you do get with your hair all done up properly, in your nicest business suit – and a crumpled sheet of paper.

Treat your resume with love and affection. Carefully write each word, and then edit the finished product thoroughly. After you’re sure that you’ve found every last mistake, edit it again.

What type of resume mistakes are you looking for? Start by checking your resume for any of the top ten common resume mistakes below.

10. Outdated contact info

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

Great news: You got the job! Unfortunately, your phone number changed over a year ago – and you forgot to update your resume. Oops.

9. Typos and grammar issues

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

Your name is Linda, not Linnda. You don’t “no” you are qualified – you “know”. You don’t “hope too here back soon” – you “hope to hear back soon”. And the difference between “your” and “you’re”? We won’t even go there today.
If you can’t figure out why any of these things are wrong, definitely get a second set of eyes to review your resume before you send it to a potential employer.

8. Spelling errors

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

These days, pretty much every word processor or home office program has a function that checks spelling. Utilize it.

7. Colored paper

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

Applying for a regular office job or a position at your favorite retailer? Resist the urge to print your resume on pale pink or sky blue paper. Nothing screams, “I belong in a kindergarten classroom” like a resume printed on colored paper. Colored paper is great for crafts and activities with children. It’s even acceptable for some artsy, creative jobs. It’s not okay for anything else, though. Sorry.

6. Too long

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

In 3rd grade, you were class president. In 6th grade, you won the school spelling bee. In 10th grade, you were Homecoming queen. You’ve had 7 different jobs, went to 4 different colleges, and received 27 different random awards over the years. Look, it’s great that you’re pretty, popular, and ambitious – but your potential employer doesn’t care about all that. Cut things down a bit.

5. Too short

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

Cut things down “a bit”, not “a lot”. If your resume is too short, it makes it seem like you aren’t worth hiring. Make it fill up a full page – without using Arial 36 pt. font. If you’ve only had one job, add school stuff, volunteer work, and anything else that makes you sound like you’d be a good employee.

4. Unprofessional email address

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

Do not email your resume from an email address like It just looks bad, okay? Use something professional, like your first and last name, first initial and last name, or your last name and a few numbers. Alternately, you can use a career-related email address, such as

3. Vague statements

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

Whatever you do, never make this your Objective: “Looking for a great job where I can utilize my skills”. Really? A great job doing what? And what exactly are your skills? Be specific about what you want and what you have to offer. It will save your potential employer – and you – a lot of time.

2. Wrinkles

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

Never turn in a resume that is ripped, wrinkled, smeared, smudged, or anything else that makes it look like it was attacked by your dog. Or your toddler. A resume should be printed on crisp, clean white paper. Carry it in a sleek black portfolio or even a basic folder to protect it from the elements.

1. Poor references

One of the top ten common resume mistakes

Don’t write somebody’s name down as a reference unless you are 100% sure they will say something nice about you. Also, try to use professional references from people in similar fields. References to avoid: your ex-boyfriend, your mom, that co-worker who never really liked you, and your friend who works at the strip club. There’s nothing wrong with working at a strip club if that’s your thing, but your future boss might not be too happy when she asks where Diamond, your reference, works.

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