What Message Do Resume Mistakes Send to a Potential Employer?

John Krautzel
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Resume errors can say a lot about your personality and work ethic. If you make the wrong mistake on a resume, it may cost you an interview and, therefore, a job opportunity. Certain errors send particular messages to your future employer. Try to see these mistakes from the view of the HR manager or supervisor, and understand how you come across in an error-filled resume.


A 2013 survey of business executives and hiring managers lists typos and grammatical errors as the top reason to disqualify a candidate based on the resume alone. Employers see typos as thoughtless, correctable mistakes that should not appear in the first place. If you make these careless, seemingly small errors as an employee, they may add up to huge mistakes later.

For example, if you work in IT, a typo in a line of code can take days or weeks to find and then fix. If you write regular press releases in a marketing department for a corporation, the errors go out to the public and are an affront to the image of the company itself. In accounting, a typo could lead to thousands of dollars missing.

Typos and grammatical errors peg you as someone who is sloppy and unable to pay attention to detail. Employers may not want to hire you if you display such carelessness.

Too Casual

A resume that lacks a professional tone or is too casual can lead to a recruiter or hiring manager believing you're naive or unprofessional. Remember, you show up at your place of employment to work and not to play, chat on the phone, text your best buddy or surf the Internet. Your professional attitude helps your employer make money; the company doesn't want to fund a 40-hour break every week.

Lack of Achievements

Failing to put any pertinent achievements on your resume shows that you lack the motivation to go above and beyond your fundamental job duties. A new employer does not want to hire someone who is average and didn't stand out from the crowd at previous positions. Make sure to include your best achievements in a career summary to let HR know what you can do.

Unreadable Text

Written communication may be a vital aspect of a position. At the very least, employees use email on a regular basis to communicate. If something as important as your resume is completely unreadable, lacks structure and does not make sense, your future supervisor could believe that you simply cannot communicate effectively. A lack of communication could lead to disagreements, arguments, lost time and lost productivity.

Standard Document

HR managers can pick out a stock resume that has no depth, tailoring or creativity. Just because your format should be professional, it doesn't mean you have to present a boring document. When you fail to tailor a resume to the job description, you show your potential employer that you lack motivation to get things done. If you cannot write a resume properly, what makes your boss think you can have a report finished accurately and on time?


You can try to alleviate job-hopping on a resume by formatting your previous employers a certain way. However, an employer who sees you as a job-hopper may determine that you bore easily or that you can't keep a position for very long. If you have a valid excuse, such as military service or a medical issue, that's not a problem. Otherwise, job-hopping does not leave a good impression on employers.

Lack of Relevant Career Theme

Most people stick to one career for several years before deciding to try something else. Your employment history could indicate a lack of focus when you start as a sales clerk in a furniture store, then shift to a hotel front desk employee and end up as car wash attendant in the span of one year. Shifting from one kind of career to another signals a lack of commitment on your part. Employers may not want to hire someone who doesn't want to stick around for very long.

Because your resume represents you as a potential employee, it's crucial to make as few mistakes on it as possible. Be accurate, concise, thorough and detailed, and run multiple checks for any typos. After that, you can knock hiring managers out with your charming personality in the interview.

Photo Courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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  • James F.
    James F.

    The number one mistake that can cost you an interview? Not having someone on the inside go to bat for you. It's more important to know or be related to the right people than it is to actually be a good worker. If you're kin, you're IN!

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