Resume Gaffes to Avoid

Julie Shenkman
Posted by in Career Advice

You are one of 300 candidates for the opening you're applying for.

Can you afford to send a sub-par resume?

Of course not.

But you may be sabotaging your job search -- right now -- by making just one of the common resume mistakes below.

Avoid them and watch your job search take off!

Mistake #1 Droning On About Duties And Responsibilities

Employers want results when they hire you. So emphasize them in your resume!

While it's important to tell the reader what you've done at each job, it's far more effective to talk about specific achievements that made you valuable to employers.

Think back on your daily duties. What good things happened when you did your job well? Write them down! Focus on results. The more specific, the better.

Instead of saying this: "Responsibilities included implementation of policies and procedures, training of new employees, interfacing with subordinates and vendors, and light correspondence duties."

Say this: "Worked with staff and vendors to increase product turnover by 15% and sales by 23% in five months. Also trained 14 new employees, five of whom were rapidly promoted."

Mistake #2 Using All Capital Letters



Mistake #3 Illogical Order

Write your resume as if it were a breaking news story, with the most gripping details and information near the beginning.

For example, if you're just finishing school with a degree in the field you want to work in, put your education section near the top of your resume.

Similarly, if you've got 5-10 years' experience in your field, your experience should come ahead of your education.

Don't wait to shoot off your big guns!

Mistake #4 The "If You Upload It, They Will Come" Trap

Even the best-written resume is but one weapon in your job search arsenal. If you upload it to a few hot employment Web sites, then kick back and wait for the phone to ring, you may be in for a l-o-n-g wait.

You MUST make your job search a full-time job, especially in this economy. That means you have to get on the phone or out in the street and start networking.

"David," an East Coast HR professional, gives this advice: "Contact anybody within a company who can do you some good. It doesn't have to be the hiring manager or the CEO. Anybody who can get your resume in front of someone who can do something about it can help."

Most HR people and recruiters love getting referrals from employees who can personally vouch for a candidate. They often get looked at first and are given every consideration.

So get out there and build your network!

Follow these guidelines to avoid the resume mistakes that can kill your job search. When in doubt, run your resume by at least three friends for their honest input.

Best of luck to you!

-- Kevin Donlin is the author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days ... or your money back. For more information, please visit


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